Mio Destino lingerie is part of a rich tapestry of history in which underwear has played a formative role. The underwear of Charles I on a cold morning in late January 1649 probably saved the British monarchy.
Grievances against the kings government had grown over the course of his reign resulting in rebellion in Ireland and Scotland. In 1640, the king clashed with the English parliament over the expensive new taxes he demanded in order to crush the uprisings. Their refusal led the king to dissolve the parliament and claim the right to rule by royal prerogative. Eventually the parliament was recalled, refusing to dissolve for the next twenty years. Suspicion about the kings absolutist pretensions was exacerbated by Charles armed arrest of five MPs in January 1642, leading to the outbreak of civil war in the summer. Following defeat at the hands of Oliver Cromwell New Model Army in 1646, the imprisoned and unpopular Charles negotiated a secret deal with the Scots in order to raise forces for a second civil war. The royalist uprising ended in a tame defeat in a few months, but Charles I was now seen as a traitor and tyrant unfit for government and with whom no negotiation could now take place. Prides Purge in December 1648 ensured that no royalists or moderates were left in parliament - a court was formed, trying the deposed king on charges of tyranny and treachery. The most hated man in the land was sentenced to death by beheading; a sentence he served on 31st January, 1649. The monarchy was abolished, and Oliver Cromwell was proclaimed Lord Protector.
After the kings public execution, pamphlets immediately circulated lauding the kings supernatural bravery with which he faced the axe. Witnesses described his dignity and courage as he stood on the scaffold. Books, including the best-selling Eikon Basilike, were written about the supreme majesty of the former monarch in life and death. Soon, hundreds of thousands declared him a martyr, wrongfully struck down by evil and bloodthirsty roundheads. A pseudo-cult called for his canonisation, a society which survives to this day. The monarchy was welcomed back with open arms in 1660, and Cromwells body was exhumed for its own decapitation. How did Charles manage this amazing coup at his death? The answer was underwear. Charles, anticipating a cold day, took the unprecedented step of ordering cotton undergarments so that he wouldnt shiver on the scaffold and appear scared of his immanent fate. The plan worked. Without Charles's underwear on that fateful day three-hundred and fifty years ago, there might not be an English monarchy today.
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