A recognisable Royalist faction first emerged in the Long Parliament during the debates over the Grand Remonstrance of December 1641. Initiated by John Pym, the Remonstrance called for the setting up of a religious assembly to supervise reform of the Church and included demands that the King's ministers should be approved by Parliament. Indirectly, the Remonstrance was intended to undermine confidence in the King's authority as commander of the armed forces in order to transfer control from the Crown to Parliament. Many regarded the Remonstrance as too drastic an attack on royal authority, particularly after it was printed and circulated to rally support outside Parliament. Sir Edward Hyde, Sir John Culpeper and Viscount Falkland were foremost among former critics of the King's policies who came over to support him against his opponents in Parliament.

The deteriorating relationship between King and Parliament came to head towards the end of 1641 with the introduction of the Militia Bill in the House of Commons, which proposed that army commanders should be appointed by Parliament rather than the Crown. Led by Culpeper, the King's supporters argued against the bill and the King refused to grant his assent, but it was passed by Parliament as an ordinance and declared to be valid without the royal assent. The King retaliated by issuing Commissions of Array to call his loyal supporters to arms. An early test of allegiance for noblemen and gentry was whether to obey Parliament's militia ordinance or the King's commission of array.

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