He was first returned to Parliament in 1586 as member for Cirencester after William Brydges chose to sit for Gloucestershire. Charles' fellow member was George Master.  They were returned again for the 1589 parliament. 
With others including Christopher Blount in the Low Countries in 1588 he was knighted by Peregrine Bertie, Lord Willoughby  and in 1589 he was listed to accompany the Henry Clinton, Earl of Lincoln to Denmark as Queen Elizabeth's representative at the marriage of James VI of Scotland to Princess Anne of Denmark. Charles was more courtier than politician, appearing with distinction in the tilt yards on accession day in 1590.
Charles and his brother, Henry, came to grief in 1594 as part of an ongoing quarrel between the Danvers family and the family of Long. Challenged to a duel, he was severely wounded by Henry Long who was then shot dead by Henry Danvers. The brothers retreated to the home of Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton at Whitley Lodge in Hampshire. Outlawed they fled to France and entered the service of the King, Henri IV. Their father died on the 19th December that year and their mother married Edmund Carey. Charles inherited manors and other lands in Wiltshire, land in Gloucestershire and other property in Leicestershire, Oxfordshire and Cornwall administered during his banishment by stewards including his cousin, Richard Danvers. 
The pleas of Carey, Robert Cecil and the French King eventually worked on the ageing Queen and a pardon was granted in the summer of 1598. As a condition of the pardon £1500 was to be paid to Sir Walter Long MP, the dead man's brother. There was also the matter of £12,000 Carey had spent securing the pardon, which Charles' mother was determined should be repaid. Discontented Charles was eventually posted a colonel to Ireland where he renewed his friendship with Southampton and became a close confidant and adviser to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. Essex, the Queen's last great favourite, had proved himself unable to quell the Irish troubles without coming to a truce with Hugh O'Neill, and late in 1599, against the Queen's express command, he sailed for England. Charles went with him.  Charged amongst other things with deserting his post Essex was detained in his own home and not granted his freedom until August 1600. Once freed he began plotting insurrection in which plot Charles joined along with Southampton. On 8 February the plotters left Essex House and entered the city of London in an attempt to force an audience with the Queen. A force under Sir John Leveson placed a barrier across the street at Ludgate Hill. When Essex's men tried to force their way through, Essex's stepfather, Sir Christopher Blount, was injured in the resulting skirmish, and Essex withdrew with his men to Essex House. Besieged Essex surrendered. 
Charles was imprisoned in the Tower 9 February 1601, condemned 5 March and executed 18 March, between 7 and 8 o’clock in the morning, being buried in the Tower on the same day.
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