This is the embroidered linen nightcap worn by Charles I on the eve of his execution, the 29th-30th January 1649. With the death of the King, the monarchy was abolished and England became a republic governed by the Commonwealth. Charles' trial was unprecedented in world history, and the events that followed were unique in British history. Upon the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, parliament declared Charles a martyr, added him to the calendar of Anglican saints, and ordered prayers to be said in his memory and honour on the anniversary of his death. Interest in the cult of Charles's martyrdom was revived in Queen Victoria's reign.
The nightcap was donated by Queen Victoria to Carisbrooke Castle Museum (established in 1898 by her daughter Princess Beatrice) where it can be seen today. Charles I was confined at Carisbrooke Castle from November 1647 to November 1648, before being brought to trial in London. His time at Carisbrooke was marked by failed attempts at escape, and fruitless negotiations with both Parliament and potential allies. The story of Charles I in the Isle of Wight is a significant part of the island's history and of the present museum's content.