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Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Carlisle (1629 – 24 February 1685) was an English military leader and politician who sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1653 and 1660 and was created Earl of Carlisle in 1661.
Howard was the son and heir of Sir William Howard of Naworth in Cumberland, by Mary, daughter of William, Lord Eure, and great-grandson of Lord William Howard, "Belted Will" (1563–1640), the third son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk. In 1645 he conformed to the Church of England and supported the government of the Commonwealth, being appointed High Sheriff of Cumberland in 1650. He bought Carlisle Castle and became governor of the town. He distinguished himself at the Battle of Worcester on Cromwell's side and made a member of the council of state in 1653, chosen captain of the protector's body-guard and selected to carry out various public duties. In 1653 he was nominated as Member of Parliament for the Four Northern Counties in the Barebones Parliament. He was elected MPP for Cumberland in 1654.
In 1655 Howard was given a regiment, was appointed a commissioner to try the northern rebels, and a deputy major-general of Cumberland, Westmorland and Northumberland. He was re-elected MP for Cumberland in 1656. In 1657 he was included in Cromwell's House of Lords and voted for the protector's assumption of the royal title the same year. In 1659 he urged Richard Cromwell to defend his government by force against the army leaders, but his advice being refused he used his influence in favor of a restoration of the monarchy, and after Richard's fall he was imprisoned. In April 1660 he sat again in parliament for Cumberland, and at the Restoration was made custos rotulorum and Lord Lieutenant of Cumberland and Lord Lieutenant of Westmorland.
On 20 April 1661 Howard was created Baron Dacre of Gillesland, Viscount Howard of Morpeth, and Earl of Carlisle; the same year he was made Vice-Admiral of Northumberland, Cumberland and Durham, and in 1662 joint commissioner for the office of Earl Marshal. In 1663 he was appointed ambassador to Russia, Sweden and Denmark, and in 1668 he carried the Garter to Charles XI of Sweden.
In 1667 Howard was made lieutenant-general of the forces and joint commander-in-chief of the four northernmost counties. In 1672 he became one of the commissioners for the office of Lord Lieutenant of Durham, and in 1673 deputy earl marshal.
In 1678 he was appointed governor of Jamaica, and reappointed governor of Carlisle. He died in 1685, and was buried in York Minster. He married Anne (d. 1696), daughter of Edward Howard, 1st Baron Howard of Escrick, by whom he had six children:
- Edward Howard, 2nd Earl of Carlisle (c. 1646–1692)
- Lady Katherine Howard (29 July 1662 – March 1682)
- Hon. Frederick Christian Howard (5 November 1664 – October 1684), killed at the Siege of Luxembourg
- Hon. Charles Howard (5 September 1668 – 3 April 1670)
- Lady Mary Howard (d. 27 October 1708), married Sir John Fenwick, 3rd Baronet
- Lady Anne Howard, married Richard Graham, 1st Viscount Preston
Colonel Thomas Howard (died 1678), notorious for the 1662 duel where he left Henry Jermyn, 1st Baron Dover for dead (they being rivals for the affections of Anna Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury), was his younger brother. He was pardoned and soon afterwards married as her third husband Mary Stewart, Duchess of Richmond.
- "Howard, Charles (1629-1685)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.