Successor of Queen Elizabeth
James (b. 1566) was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots. Succeeding to the kingship of Scotland, he ruled in the shadow of several regents for several years before taking control over his government in the 1580s. As a descendent of Henry VII, he was heir to the throne of England and allied himself with Elizabeth I to secure his succession. James was proclaimed king in 1603, bringing together the crowns of Scotland, England, and Ireland. He was greeted warmly by his new subjects, but his attempt to unify the kingdoms under a single Parliament met resistance; he proclaimed himself “King of Great Britain” in 1604 anyway.
James survived numerous plots among the always fractious English and Scottish nobles.
Much of the actual government of the kingdom was handled by his advisors, though James remained active in foreign policy, particularly among the Protestant nations of Europe. His favorites included the Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of Holland. As is the case with most English monarchs, James was perpetually short of money to finance his adventures abroad, such as his desire to restore the Palatinate in the Holy Roman Empire to Protestant rule. The king looked abroad, first to Spain, and now to France, for a wealthy ally.
King James died in March, 1625 and was succeeded by his son, Charles.