Charles I's copy of Shakespeare's second folio on display at Windsor Castle



2016-02-12 15:19:00

A copy of Shakespeare’s second folio belonging to King Charles I is on display at Windsor Castle.

The book is among a range of fascinating artefacts to be show in the Shakespeare and the Royal Family exhibition, which will run from February 13 to January 1, 2017.

Charles I was booted off the throne in 1645, following his spectacular defeat at the hands of Oliver Cromwell in the English Civil War.

He fled to the Isle of Wight in 1647, believing that he would be granted sanctuary by the governor Colonel Robert Hammond - but Hammond immediately imprisoned him at Carisbrooke Castle.

He was imprisoned there until 1648.  

He passed the time reading through Shakespeare’s plays, which appears to have granted him some comfort.

He inscribed the book Dum Spiro Spero, Latin for “while I breathe, I hope”.

While his positive outlook is impressive, given the circumstances, it did him no good in the end. In 1649 he was transported to London and beheaded.

The second folio was published in 1632, 16 years after Shakespeare’s death, and features a variety of changes to the text of the first folio.

Other items featured in the show include a watercolour painting by Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Alice showing a scene from Hamlet and a copy of The Merry Wives of Windsor given to Queen Mary in 1917 and bound in an embroidered cover.

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