Charles Oakeley was appointed as the Governor of Madras Presidency on 15 May 1872. He was preceded by Sir William Medows who served as the Governor of Madras Province from 20 February 1790 to 1 August 1792. The Madras Presidency, also known as the Presidency of Fort St. George and Madras Province, was an administrative sub division of British dominated India. The territory included most of southern India, such as the modern states of Tamil Nadu, the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh, Lakshadweep Islands, the Malabar region of North Kerala, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangapur and Gajapati districts of southern Orissa and the Bellary, Ganjam, Dakshina Kannada, Rayagada and Udupi districts of Karnataka. Madras (now Chennai) was the winter capital of the province and Ootacamund (now Ooty) was the summer capital of the British presidency.
Oakeley served in office until 7 September 1794 and was succeeded by Robert Hobart, 4th Earl of Buckinghamshire PC, who acted as the Governor of Madras till 21 February 1798.
Sir Charles Oakeley, 1st Baronet was married to Helen Beatson, who was the niece of notable Scottish portrait painter Catherine Read. The couple had 2 sons, namely Sir Charles Oakeley, 2nd Baronet and Frederick Oakeley. Charles Oakeley died on 7 September 1826 in Fort St George, Madras (now Chennai) in British India.