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Charles I enters the House of Commons

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Uploaded on Dec 7, 2008

On 4 January 1642, King Charles I entered the House of Commons to arrest five members. So angered were MPs at this breach of parliamentary privilege that they slammed to doors of the chamber in the faces of the King's men. When Charles finally entered the House of Commons, the Speaker, William Lenthall, refused to reveal the location of the wanted men, famously saying: "May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here."

This incident lead to the English Civil War and no monarch has entered the House of Commons since. Every year this event is commemorated during the State Opening of Parliament when Black Rod tries to enter the Commons, the door is slammed in his face to symbolise the independence of the elected House of Commons from the monarchy.

This video is a dramatisation from the film 'Cromwell'.

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