James VI and I
James VI and I, from his collected 'Workes', 1617

In 1603, two very different nations were brought together by the curious fact that they only had one monarch between them.

On the death of England's Queen Elizabeth I without children, the next in line to the throne was the reigning king of Scotland, King James VI. James won the backing of the English establishment as he was a Protestant, he had sons who could be king after him, and his 36-year rule in Scotland had largely been a success.

However, he was also a Scot, who spoke a different language and had a different cultural background. How would he be able to bring the two countries together?

These pages explore James's personality and the effects of his arrival in England, and include images of James's own books from the National Library of Scotland 's rich collections. We look at how 1603 changed Britain, with consequences that we are still living with in the devolved Scotland of today.

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