As Elizabeth I died without leaving an heir, the English throne passed, in 1603, to the Scottish King James VI, the first Stuart King of England, and a Catholic. James I of England, as he became, had been King James VI of Scotland since 24 July 1567 when he was only thirteen months old. His mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, had been forced to abdicate in her son's favour and Scotland was ruled by regents until James reached his majority in 1578.
James's mother Mary, Queen of Scots, and his father, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, were both great grandchildren of Henry VII, through Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII's older sister. When Elizabeth died without leaving, or naming, an heir, James was the closest successor in terms of royal pedigree. James ruled both England and Scotland for a further twenty two years.