King James I of England and VI of Scotland, 1619.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
James (1566-1625) acceded to the Scottish throne in 1567, and to the English throne in 1603 on the death of Elizabeth I. He was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots and Henry, Lord Darnley. James, an educated and able king, desired to bring peace to war-torn Europe. He is probably best remembered for commisioning an English translation of the bible, published in 1611, and still known as the King James Bible. He ill-deserved to be called the 'wisest fool in Christendom'.