powered by AFI
In 1640 England, Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan member of Parliament, is disturbed by the growing injustices of King Charles's reign and fears that Queen Henrietta Maria, a French Catholic, is influencing her husband to modify the rituals of the Church of England. At first Cromwell decides to take his family to Scotland, but later he is convinced to remain and aid his Puritan friends, the Roundheads, against the Cavaliers, the royalist allies in Parliament. Encouraged by the strong influence of his Catholic queen and the loyal Earl of Strafford, as well as by his own belief in the divine right of the monarchy, Charles demands that Parliament finance a war on Scotland; when Parliament refuses the order, Charles sends troops into the house to regain control, and Cromwell and others accuse him of treason. A civil war develops between the forces of Parliament and the king's troops. After his Puritan forces suffer a resounding defeat at Edgehill, Cromwell takes it upon himself to train the troops, and they subsequently defeat the king's men at Naseby. The queen and the Prince of Wales flee, but King Charles is caught and brought to trial before Parliament; in 1649, Charles is found guilty and beheaded. After a brief and ineffective rule by Parliament, Cromwell returns to London, dissolves Parliament, and has himself appointed Lord Protector, a position which gives him almost dictatorial control over England.