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Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685) was
King of Scotland The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of government by which a hereditary monarchy, hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United ...
from 1649 until 1651, and King of Scotland,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
and
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...
from the
1660 Restoration The Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in the kingdoms of Kingdom of England, England, Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland and Kingdom of Ireland, Ireland took place in 1660 when King Charles II of England, Charles II returned from exile in continen ...
of the monarchy until his death in 1685. Charles II was the eldest surviving child of Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland and
Henrietta Maria of France Henrietta Maria (french: link=no, Henriette Marie; 25 November 1609 – 10 September 1669) was List of English consorts, Queen of England, List of Scottish consorts, Scotland, and List of Irish consorts, Ireland as the wife of Charles I of Eng ...
. After
Charles I's execution The execution of Charles I by Decapitation, beheading occurred on Tuesday 30 January 1649 outside the Banqueting House in Whitehall. The execution was the culmination of political and military conflicts between the cavaliers, royalists and the roun ...
at
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A roads in Zone 3 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, London, Chelsea. It is the main ...
on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, ...
, the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereig ...
proclaimed Charles II king on 5 February 1649. But England entered the period known as the
English Interregnum The Interregnum was the period between the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649 and the arrival of his son Charles II of England, Charles II in London on 29 May 1660 which marked the start of the Restoration (England), Restoration. During the ...
or the
English Commonwealth The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales Wales ( cy, Cymru ) is a country that is Countries of the United Kingdom, part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to t ...
, and the country was a ''de facto'' republic led by
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
. Cromwell defeated Charles II at the
Battle of Worcester The Battle of Worcester took place on 3 September 1651 at Worcester, England Worcester ( ) is a cathedral city and the ceremonial county town of Worcestershire, in England, south-west of Birmingham, north-west of London, north of Gloucester ...

Battle of Worcester
on 3 September 1651, and Charles fled to mainland Europe. Cromwell became virtual dictator of England, Scotland and Ireland. Charles spent the next nine years in exile in France, the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
and the
Spanish Netherlands Spanish Netherlands es, Países Bajos Españoles; nl, Spaanse Nederlanden; french: Pays-Bas espagnols; german: Spanische Niederlande. (historically in Spanish: ''Flandes'', the name "Flanders" was used as a ''pars pro toto ''Pars pro toto'' (, ...

Spanish Netherlands
. The political crisis that followed Cromwell's death in 1658 resulted in the
restoration Restoration is the act of restoring something to its original state and may refer to: * Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage * Restoration style Film and television * ''The Restoration'' (1909 film), a film by D.W. Griffith starr ...
of the monarchy, and Charles was invited to return to Britain. On 29 May 1660, his 30th birthday, he was received in London to public acclaim. After 1660, all legal documents stating a
regnal year A regnal year is a year of the reign of a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Rom ...
did so as if he had succeeded his father as king in 1649. Charles's English parliament enacted laws known as the
Clarendon Code In English history, the penal laws were a series of laws that sought to uphold the establishment of the Church of England against Protestantism, Protestant Nonconformist (Protestantism), nonconformists and Catholic Church, Catholicism by imposing ...
, designed to shore up the position of the re-established
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
. Charles acquiesced to the Clarendon Code even though he favoured a policy of religious tolerance. The major foreign policy issue of his early reign was the
Second Anglo-Dutch War The Second Anglo-Dutch War or the Second Dutch War (4 March 1665 – 31 July 1667; nl, Tweede Engelse Oorlog "Second English War") was a conflict between England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of ...
. In 1670, he entered into the
Treaty of Dover The Treaty of Dover, also known as the Secret Treaty of Dover, was a treaty between England and France signed at Dover Dover () is a town and major ferry port in Kent, South East England. It faces France across the Strait of Dover, the narro ...
, an alliance with his cousin King
Louis XIV of France Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the of any monarch of a sovereign country in ...

Louis XIV of France
. Louis agreed to aid him in the
Third Anglo-Dutch War The Third Anglo-Dutch War, or Third Dutch War ( nl, Derde Engelse Zeeoorlog), was a naval conflict between England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of En ...
and pay him a pension, and Charles secretly promised to convert to Catholicism at an unspecified future date. Charles attempted to introduce
religious freedom Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom ...
for Catholics and Protestant
dissenter A dissenter (from the Latin ''dissentire'', "to disagree") is one who dissent Sticker art arguing that dissent is necessary for democracy.">democracy.html" ;"title="Sticker art arguing that dissent is necessary for democracy">Sticker art arguin ...
s with his 1672
Royal Declaration of Indulgence The Royal Declaration of Indulgence was Charles II of England's attempt to extend religious liberty to Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers ...
, but the
English Parliament The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of b ...
forced him to withdraw it. In 1679,
Titus Oates Titus Oates (15 September 1649 – 12/13 July 1705) was an English priest who fabricated the " Popish Plot", a supposed Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3&n ...

Titus Oates
's revelations of a supposed
Popish Plot The Popish Plot was a fictitious conspiracy invented by Titus Oates that between 1678 and 1681 gripped the Kingdoms of Kingdom of England, England and Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland in anti-Catholicism in the United Kingdom, anti-Catholic hysteria ...
sparked the
Exclusion Crisis The Exclusion Crisis ran from 1679 until 1681 in the reign of King Charles II of England, Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland. Three Exclusion bills sought to exclude the King's brother and heir presumptive, James II of England, James, Duk ...
when it was revealed that Charles's brother and heir presumptive,
James, Duke of York James II and VII (14 October 1633Old Style and New Style dates, O.S.16 September 1701) was King of England and King of Ireland as James II, and King of Scotland as James VII from the death of his elder brother, Charles II of England, Charles I ...

James, Duke of York
, had become a Roman Catholic. The crisis saw the birth of the pro-exclusion
Whig Whig or Whigs may refer to: Parties and factions In the British Isles * A pejorative nickname for the Kirk Party The Kirk Party were a radical Presbyterian faction of the Scotland, Scottish Covenanters during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. ...
and anti-exclusion
Tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, ...
parties. Charles sided with the Tories, and after the discovery of the
Rye House Plot The Rye House Plot of 1683 was a plan to assassinate King Charles II of England and his brother (and heir to the throne) James II of England, James, Duke of York. The royal party went from Westminster to Newmarket, Suffolk, Newmarket to see horse ...

Rye House Plot
to murder Charles and James in 1683, some Whig leaders were executed or forced into exile. Charles dissolved the English Parliament in 1681 and ruled alone until his death in 1685. He was allegedly received into the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
on his deathbed. Traditionally considered one of the most popular English kings, Charles is known as the ''Merry Monarch'', a reference to the liveliness and hedonism of his court. He acknowledged at least 12 illegitimate children by various mistresses, but left no legitimate children and was succeeded by his brother, James.


Early life, civil war and exile

Charles II was born at
St James's Palace St James's Palace is the most senior royal palace in the United Kingdom. It gives its name to the Court of St James's, which is the monarch's royal court and is located in the City of Westminster in London. Although no longer the principal resi ...
on 29 May 1630. His parents were
Charles ICharles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of French and German kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of Hungary (1288 ...

Charles I
, who ruled the three kingdoms of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
,
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...
and
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, and
Henrietta Maria Henrietta Maria (french: link=no, Henriette Marie; 25 November 1609 – 10 September 1669) was Queen of England, Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kin ...

Henrietta Maria
, the sister of the French king
Louis XIII Louis XIII (; sometimes called the Just; 27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was from 1610 until his death in 1643 and (as Louis II) from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown. Shortly before his ninth bi ...

Louis XIII
. Charles was their second child. Their first son was born about a year before Charles, but died within a day. England, Scotland, and Ireland were respectively predominantly
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''; t ...
,
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
, and
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
. Charles was baptised in the
Chapel Royal The Chapel Royal is an establishment in the Royal Household serving the spiritual needs of the sovereign of the British royal family The British royal family comprises Queen Elizabeth II and her close relations. There is no strict legal or f ...
, on 27 June, by the Anglican
Bishop of London The Bishop of London is the Ordinary (church officer), ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury. The diocese covers of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the Thames, River Thames (historically the ...
,
William Laud William Laud (; 7 October 1573 – 10 January 1645) was a clergyman in the Church of England, appointed Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic ...

William Laud
. He was brought up in the care of the Protestant
Countess of Dorset
Countess of Dorset
, though his godparents included his maternal uncle Louis XIII and his maternal grandmother, Marie de' Medici, the Dowager Queen of France, both of whom were Catholics. At birth, Charles automatically became
Duke of Cornwall Duke of Cornwall is a title in the Peerage of England The Peerage of England comprises all peerages created in the Kingdom of England before the Act of Union 1707, Act of Union in 1707. In that year, the Peerages of England and Peerage of ...
and
Duke of Rothesay Duke of Rothesay (; gd, Diùc Baile Bhòid, sco, Duik o Rothesay) is a Substantive title, dynastic title of the heir apparent to the British throne, currently Prince Charles. Charles' wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, is the current Duchess ...
, along with several other associated titles. At or around his eighth birthday, he was designated
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ) is a title traditionally and ceremonially granted to the heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession An order of succession or right of succession is the line o ...

Prince of Wales
, though he was never formally invested. During the 1640s, when Charles was still young, his father fought
Parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' an ...
and
Puritan The Puritans were English Protestants Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of J ...

Puritan
forces in the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, ...
. Charles accompanied his father during the
Battle of Edgehill The Battle of Edgehill (or Edge Hill) was a pitched battle A pitched battle or set-piece battle is a battle A battle is an occurrence of combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically ...
and, at the age of fourteen, participated in the campaigns of 1645, when he was made titular commander of the English forces in the
West Country The West Country is a loosely defined area of south-western England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of England and the to the southwest. England is sep ...

West Country
. By spring 1646, his father was losing the war, and Charles left England due to fears for his safety. Setting off from Falmouth after staying at
Pendennis Castle Pendennis Castle (Cornish: ''Penn Dinas'', meaning "headland fortification") is an artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII of England, Henry VIII near Falmouth, Cornwall, Falmouth, Cornwall, England between 1540 and 1542. It formed part of the ...

Pendennis Castle
, he went first to the
Isles of Scilly The Isles of Scilly (; kw, Syllan or ') is an archipelago off the southwestern tip of Cornwall, England. One of the islands, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly, St Agnes, is the most southerly point in Great Britain, Britain, being over further south ...
, then to
Jersey Jersey ( , ; nrf, label=Jèrriais, Jèrri ), officially the Bailiwick of Jersey (french: Bailliage de Jersey, links=no; Jèrriais: ''Bailliage dé Jèrri''), is an island and self-governing Crown dependencies, Crown Dependency near the coa ...

Jersey
, and finally to France, where his mother was already living in exile and his first cousin, eight-year-old
Louis XIV Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the List of longest-reigning mo ...

Louis XIV
, was king. Charles I surrendered into captivity in May 1646. In 1648, during the
Second English Civil War The 1648 Second English Civil War is one in a series of connected conflicts in the kingdoms of Kingdom_of_England, England, incorporating Wales, Kingdom_of_Scotland, Scotland, and Kingdom_of_Ireland, Ireland. Known collectively as the 1638 to ...
, Charles moved to
The Hague The Hague ( ; nl, Den Haag or ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd ed ...

The Hague
, where his sister
Mary Mary may refer to: People * Mary (name) Mary is a feminine Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls. Although femininity is socially constru ...
and his brother-in-law
William II, Prince of Orange William II (27 May 1626 – 6 November 1650) was sovereign Prince of Orange Prince of Orange (or Princess of Orange if the holder is female) is a title A title is one or more words used before or after a person's name, in certain contexts ...
, seemed more likely to provide substantial aid to the
royalist A royalist supports a particular monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. ...

royalist
cause than his mother's French relations. However, the royalist fleet that came under Charles's control was not used to any advantage, and did not reach Scotland in time to join up with the royalist
Engager The Engagers were a faction of the Scotland, Scottish Covenanters, who made "The Engagement" with King Charles I of England, Charles I in December 1647 while he was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle by the English Parliamentarians after his defeat i ...
army of the
Duke of Hamilton Duke of Hamilton is a title in the Peerage of Scotland, created in April 1643. It is the senior dukedom in that Peerage (except for the Duke of Rothesay, Dukedom of Rothesay held by the Sovereign's eldest son), and as such its holder is the Pr ...
before it was defeated at the Battle of Preston by the Parliamentarians. At The Hague, Charles had a brief affair with
Lucy Walter Lucy Walter or Lucy Barlow (c. 1630 – 1658) was a Welsh people, Welsh Royal mistress, mistress of King Charles II of England and mother of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth. She is believed to have been born in 1630 or a little later at Roch Cast ...
, who later falsely claimed that they had secretly married. Her son, James Crofts (afterwards
Duke of Monmouth Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a duchy, or of a member of Royal family, royalty, or nobility. As rulers, dukes are ranked below emperors, kings, grand princes, grand dukes, and sovereign princes. As royalty or nobility, th ...
and
Duke of Buccleuch The title Duke of Buccleuch , formerly also spelt Duke of Buccleugh, is a title in the Peerage of Scotland A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary titles (and sometimes Life peer, non-hereditary titles) in a numb ...
), was one of Charles's many illegitimate children who became prominent in British society. Despite his son's diplomatic efforts to save him, King Charles I was beheaded in January 1649, and England became a republic. On 5 February, the
Covenanter Covenanters ( gd, Cùmhnantaich) were members of a 17th-century Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish religious and political movement, who supported a Presbyterian polity, Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the primacy of its leaders in religious af ...
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereig ...
proclaimed Charles II "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland" at the
Mercat Cross, Edinburgh The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh is a market cross, the structure that marks the market square of the market town of Edinburgh. It stands in Parliament Square, Edinburgh, Parliament Square next to St Giles' Cathedral, facing the Royal Mile#High Str ...

Mercat Cross, Edinburgh
, but refused to allow him to enter Scotland unless he accepted the imposition of Presbyterianism throughout Britain and Ireland. When negotiations with the Scots stalled, Charles authorised General Montrose to land in the
Orkney Islands Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast of the island of Great Britain. Orkney is 10 miles (16 km) north ...

Orkney Islands
with a small army to threaten the Scots with invasion, in the hope of forcing an agreement more to his liking. Montrose feared that Charles would accept a compromise, and so chose to invade mainland Scotland anyway. He was captured and executed. Charles reluctantly promised that he would abide by the terms of a treaty agreed between him and the Scots Parliament at
Breda Breda (, , ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge ...

Breda
, and support the
Solemn League and Covenant The Solemn League and Covenant was an agreement between the Scottish Covenanters Covenanters ( gd, Cùmhnantaich) were members of a 17th-century Scottish religious and political movement, who supported a Presbyterian Presbyterianism is ...

Solemn League and Covenant
, which authorised
Presbyterian church governance Presbyterian (or presbyteral) polity is a method of ecclesiastical polity, church governance ("ecclesiastical polity") typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually ca ...
across Britain. Upon his arrival in Scotland on 23 June 1650, he formally agreed to the Covenant; his abandonment of Episcopal church governance, although winning him support in Scotland, left him unpopular in England. Charles himself soon came to despise the "villainy" and "hypocrisy" of the Covenanters. Charles was provided with a Scottish court, and the record of his food and household expenses at
Falkland
Falkland
and
Perth Perth () is the list of Australian capital cities, capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). It is Australia's list of cities in Australia by population, fourth-most populous city, with a population of 2.1 mi ...

Perth
survives. On 3 September 1650, the Covenanters were defeated at the Battle of Dunbar by a much smaller force led by
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
. The Scots forces were divided into royalist Engagers and Presbyterian Covenanters, who even fought each other. Disillusioned by the Covenanters, in October Charles attempted to escape from them and rode north to join with an Engager force, an event which became known as "the Start", but within two days the Presbyterians had caught up with and recovered him. Nevertheless, the Scots remained Charles's best hope of restoration, and he was crowned King of Scotland at
Scone Abbey Scone Abbey (originally Scone Priory) was a house of AugustinianAugustinian may refer to: *Augustinians Augustinians are members of Christian religious orders that follow the Rule of Saint Augustine, written in about 400 AD by Augustine of H ...
on 1 January 1651. With Cromwell's forces threatening Charles's position in Scotland, it was decided to mount an attack on England. With many of the Scots (including
Lord Argyll
Lord Argyll
and other leading Covenanters) refusing to participate, and with few English royalists joining the force as it moved south into England, the invasion ended in defeat at the
Battle of Worcester The Battle of Worcester took place on 3 September 1651 at Worcester, England Worcester ( ) is a cathedral city and the ceremonial county town of Worcestershire, in England, south-west of Birmingham, north-west of London, north of Gloucester ...

Battle of Worcester
on 3 September 1651, after which Charles eluded capture by hiding in the
Royal Oak The Royal Oak is the English oak tree within which the future King Charles II of England hid to escape the Roundheads following the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The tree was in Boscobel Wood, which was part of the park of Boscobel House. Ch ...
at
Boscobel House 400px, Boscobel House Boscobel House () is a Grade II* listed building in the parish of Boscobel, Shropshire, Boscobel in Shropshire. It has been, at various times, a farmhouse, a hunting lodge, and a holiday home; but it is most famous for its r ...

Boscobel House
. Through six weeks of narrow escapes Charles managed to flee England in disguise, landing in
Normandy Normandy (; french: link=no, Normandie ; nrf, Normaundie; from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, ...

Normandy
on 16 October, despite a reward of £1,000 on his head, risk of death for anyone caught helping him and the difficulty in disguising Charles, who, at over , was unusually tall for the time. Under the
Instrument of Government The Instrument of Government was a constitution of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (f ...
passed by Parliament, Cromwell was appointed
Lord Protector Lord Protector (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full ...
of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1653, effectively placing the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic off the north-western coast of continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

British Isles
under military rule. Charles lived a life of leisure at
Saint-Germain-en-Laye Saint-Germain-en-Laye () is a Communes of France, commune in the Yvelines Departments of France, department in the Île-de-France (region), Île-de-France in north-central France. It is located in the western suburbs of Paris, from the Kilometr ...

Saint-Germain-en-Laye
near Paris, living on a grant from Louis XIV of 600 livres a month. Charles could not obtain sufficient finance or support to mount a serious challenge to Cromwell's government. Despite the Stuart family connections through Henrietta Maria and the Princess of Orange, France and the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
allied themselves with Cromwell's government from 1654, forcing Charles to leave France and turn for aid to Spain, which at that time ruled the Southern Netherlands. Charles made the Treaty of Brussels (1656), Treaty of Brussels with Spain in 1656. This gathered Spanish support for a restoration in return for Charles's contribution to the war against France. Charles raised a ragtag army from his exiled subjects; this small, underpaid, poorly-equipped and ill-disciplined force formed the nucleus of the post-Restoration army. The Commonwealth made the Treaty of Paris (1657), Treaty of Paris with France in 1657 to join them in war against Spain in the Netherlands. Royalist supporters in the Spanish force were led by Charles's younger brother
James, Duke of York James II and VII (14 October 1633Old Style and New Style dates, O.S.16 September 1701) was King of England and King of Ireland as James II, and King of Scotland as James VII from the death of his elder brother, Charles II of England, Charles I ...

James, Duke of York
. At the Battle of the Dunes (1658), Battle of the Dunes in 1658, as part of the larger Spanish force, Charles's army of around 2,000 clashed with Commonwealth troops fighting with the French. By the end of the battle Charles's force was about 1,000 and with Dunkirk given to the English the prospect of a Royalist expedition to England was dashed.


Restoration

After the death of Cromwell in 1658, Charles's initial chances of regaining the Crown seemed slim; Cromwell was succeeded as Lord Protector by his son, Richard Cromwell, Richard. However, the new Lord Protector had little experience of either military or civil administration. In 1659, the Rump Parliament was recalled and Richard resigned. During the civil and military unrest that followed, George Monck, the Governor of Scotland, was concerned that the nation would descend into anarchy. Monck and his army marched into the City of London, and forced the Rump Parliament to re-admit members of the Long Parliament who had been excluded in December 1648, during Pride's Purge. The Long Parliament dissolved itself and there was a general election for the first time in almost 20 years. The outgoing Parliament defined the electoral qualifications intending to bring about the return of a Presbyterian majority. The restrictions against royalist candidates and voters were widely ignored, and the elections resulted in a Parliament of England, House of Commons that was fairly evenly divided on political grounds between Royalists and Parliamentarians and on religious grounds between Anglicans and Presbyterians. The new so-called Convention Parliament (1660), Convention Parliament assembled on 25 April 1660, and soon afterwards welcomed the Declaration of Breda, in which Charles promised lenience and tolerance. There would be liberty of conscience and Anglican church policy would not be harsh. He would not exile past enemies nor confiscate their wealth. There would be pardons for nearly all his opponents except the regicides. Above all, Charles promised to rule in cooperation with Parliament. The English Parliament resolved to proclaim Charles king and invite him to return, a message that reached Charles at
Breda Breda (, , ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge ...

Breda
on 8 May 1660. In Ireland, a Irish Convention (1660), convention had been called earlier in the year, and had already declared for Charles. On 14 May, he was proclaimed king in Dublin. He set out for England from Scheveningen, arrived in Dover on 25 May 1660 and reached London on 29 May, his 30th birthday. Although Charles and Parliament granted amnesty to nearly all of Cromwell's supporters in the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion, 50 people were specifically excluded. In the end nine of the List of regicides of Charles I, regicides were executed: they were hanged, drawn and quartered, whereas others were given life imprisonment or simply excluded from office for life. The bodies of
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
, Henry Ireton and John Bradshaw (Judge), John Bradshaw were subjected to the indignity of posthumous execution, posthumous decapitations. The English Parliament granted him an annual income to run the government of £1.2 million, generated largely from customs and excise duties. The grant, however, proved to be insufficient for most of Charles's reign. For the most part, the actual revenue was much lower, which led to attempts to economise at court by reducing the size and expenses of the royal household and raise money through unpopular innovations such as the Chimney money, hearth tax. In the latter half of 1660, Charles's joy at the Restoration was tempered by the deaths of his youngest brother, Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester, Henry, and sister,
Mary Mary may refer to: People * Mary (name) Mary is a feminine Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls. Although femininity is socially constru ...
, of smallpox. At around the same time, Anne Hyde, the daughter of the Lord Chancellor, Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, Edward Hyde, revealed that she was pregnant by Charles's brother, James II of England, James, whom she had secretly married. Edward Hyde, who had not known of either the marriage or the pregnancy, was created Earl of Clarendon and his position as Charles's favourite minister was strengthened.


Clarendon Code

The Convention Parliament was dissolved in December 1660, and, shortly after the Coronation of the British monarch, coronation, the second English Parliament of the reign assembled. Dubbed the Cavalier Parliament, it was overwhelmingly Royalist and Anglican. It sought to discourage Nonconformist (Protestantism), non-conformity to the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is a Christian church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Critic ...
and passed several acts to secure Anglican dominance. The Corporation Act 1661 required municipal officeholders to swear allegiance; the Act of Uniformity 1662 made the use of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer compulsory; the Conventicle Act 1664 prohibited religious assemblies of more than five people, except under the auspices of the Church of England; and the Five Mile Act 1665 prohibited expelled non-conforming clergymen from coming within five miles (8 km) of a parish from which they had been banished. The Conventicle and Five Mile Acts remained in effect for the remainder of Charles's reign. The Acts became known as the
Clarendon Code In English history, the penal laws were a series of laws that sought to uphold the establishment of the Church of England against Protestantism, Protestant Nonconformist (Protestantism), nonconformists and Catholic Church, Catholicism by imposing ...
, after Lord Clarendon, even though he was not directly responsible for them and even spoke against the Five Mile Act. The Restoration was accompanied by social change.
Puritan The Puritans were English Protestants Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of J ...

Puritan
ism lost its momentum. Theatres reopened after having been closed during the English Interregnum, protectorship of
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
, and bawdy "Restoration comedy" became a recognisable genre. Theatre licences granted by Charles required that female parts be played by "their natural performers", rather than by boys as was often the practice before; and Restoration literature celebrated or reacted to the restored court, which included libertines such as John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester. Of Charles II, Wilmot supposedly said: To which Charles is reputed to have replied "that the matter was easily accounted for: For that his discourse was his own, his actions were the ministry's".


Great Plague and Great Fire

In 1665, Charles was faced with a great health crisis: the Great Plague of London. The death toll reached a peak of 7,000 per week in the week of 17 September. Charles, with his family and court, fled London in July to Salisbury; Parliament met in Oxford. Plague cases ebbed over the winter, and Charles returned to London in February 1666. After a long spell of hot and dry weather through mid-1666, what later became known as the Great Fire of London started on 2 September 1666 in a bakehouse on Pudding Lane. Fanned by a strong easterly wind and fed by stockpiles of wood and fuel that had been prepared for the coming colder months, the fire eventually consumed about 13,200 houses and 87 churches, including St Paul's Cathedral. Charles and his brother James joined and directed the fire-fighting effort. The public blamed Catholic conspirators for the fire, and one Frenchman, Robert Hubert, was hanged on the basis of a false confession even though he had no hand in starting the fire.


Foreign policy and marriage

Since 1640, Portugal had been fighting a Portuguese Restoration War, war against Spain to restore its independence after a dynastic union of sixty years between the crowns of Spain and Portugal. Portugal had been helped by France, but in the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 Portugal was abandoned by its French ally. Negotiations with Portugal for Charles's marriage to Catherine of Braganza began during his father's reign and upon the restoration, Luisa of Medina-Sidonia, Queen Luísa of Portugal, acting as regent, reopened negotiations with England that resulted in an alliance. On 23 June 1661, a marriage treaty was signed; England acquired Catherine's dowry of Tangier (in North Africa) and the Seven islands of Bombay (the latter having a major influence on the development of the British Empire in India), together with trading privileges in Brazil and the East Indies, religious and commercial freedom in Portugal and two million Portuguese crowns (about £300,000); while Portugal obtained military and naval support against Spain and liberty of worship for Catherine. Catherine journeyed from Portugal to Portsmouth on 13–14 May 1662, but was not visited by Charles there until 20 May. The next day the couple were married at Portsmouth in two ceremonies—a Catholic one conducted in secret, followed by a public Anglican service. The same year, in an unpopular move, Charles Sale of Dunkirk, sold Dunkirk to his first cousin King
Louis XIV of France Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the of any monarch of a sovereign country in ...

Louis XIV of France
for about £375,000. The channel port, although a valuable strategic outpost, was a drain on Charles's limited finances. Before Charles's restoration, the Navigation Acts of 1650 had hurt Dutch Republic, Dutch trade by giving English vessels a monopoly, and had started the First Dutch War (1652–1654). To lay foundations for a new beginning, envoys of the States General of the Netherlands, States General appeared in November 1660 with the Dutch Gift. The Second Dutch War (1665–1667) was started by English attempts to muscle in on Dutch possessions in Africa and North America. The conflict began well for the English, with the capture of New Amsterdam (renamed New York in honour of Charles's brother James, Duke of York) and a victory at the Battle of Lowestoft, but in 1667 the Dutch launched a surprise attack on England (the Raid on the Medway) when they sailed up the River Thames to where a major part of the English fleet was docked. Almost all of the ships were sunk except for the flagship, HMS Royal Charles (1655), ''Royal Charles'', which was taken back to the Netherlands as a Prize (law), prize. The Second Dutch War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Breda (1667), Treaty of Breda. As a result of the Second Dutch War, Charles dismissed Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon, Lord Clarendon, whom he used as a scapegoat for the war. Clarendon fled to France when impeached for high treason (which carried the penalty of death). Power passed to five politicians known collectively by a whimsical acronym as the Cabal—Thomas Clifford, 1st Baron Clifford, Clifford, Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington, Arlington, George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, Buckingham, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury, Ashley (afterwards Earl of Shaftesbury) and John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale, Lauderdale. In fact, the Cabal rarely acted in concert, and the court was often divided between two factions led by Arlington and Buckingham, with Arlington the more successful. In 1668, England allied itself with Sweden, and with its former enemy the Netherlands, to oppose Louis XIV in the War of Devolution. Louis made peace with the Triple Alliance (1668), Triple Alliance, but he continued to maintain his aggressive intentions towards the Netherlands. In 1670, Charles, seeking to solve his financial troubles, agreed to the
Treaty of Dover The Treaty of Dover, also known as the Secret Treaty of Dover, was a treaty between England and France signed at Dover Dover () is a town and major ferry port in Kent, South East England. It faces France across the Strait of Dover, the narro ...
, under which Louis XIV would pay him £160,000 each year. In exchange, Charles agreed to supply Louis with troops and to announce his conversion to Catholicism "as soon as the welfare of his kingdom will permit". Louis was to provide him with 6,000 troops to suppress those who opposed the conversion. Charles endeavoured to ensure that the Treaty—especially the conversion clause—remained secret. It remains unclear if Charles ever seriously intended to convert. Meanwhile, by a series of five charters, Charles granted the East India Company the rights to autonomous government of its territorial acquisitions, to mint money, to command fortresses and troops, to form alliances, to make war and peace, and to exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over its possessions in the Indies. Earlier in 1668 he leased the islands of Bombay to the company for a nominal sum of £10 paid in gold. The Portuguese territories that Catherine brought with her as a dowry proved too expensive to maintain; English Tangier, Tangier was abandoned in 1684. In 1670, Charles granted control of the entire Hudson Bay drainage basin to the Hudson's Bay Company by royal charter, and named the territory Rupert's Land, after his cousin Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the company's first governor.


Conflict with Parliament

Although previously favourable to the Crown, the Cavalier Parliament was alienated by the king's wars and religious policies during the 1670s. In 1672, Charles issued the
Royal Declaration of Indulgence The Royal Declaration of Indulgence was Charles II of England's attempt to extend religious liberty to Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers ...
, in which he purported to suspend all penal law (Britain), penal laws against Catholics and other religious dissenters. In the same year, he openly supported Catholic France and started the
Third Anglo-Dutch War The Third Anglo-Dutch War, or Third Dutch War ( nl, Derde Engelse Zeeoorlog), was a naval conflict between England England is a that is part of the . It shares land borders with to its west and to its north. The lies northwest of En ...
. The Cavalier Parliament opposed the Declaration of Indulgence on constitutional grounds by claiming that the king had no right to arbitrarily suspend laws passed by Parliament. Charles withdrew the Declaration, and also agreed to the Test Act, which not only required public officials to receive the Eucharist, sacrament under the forms prescribed by the Church of England, but also later forced them to denounce transubstantiation and the Catholic Mass as "superstitious and idolatrous". Clifford, who had converted to Catholicism, resigned rather than take the oath, and died shortly after, possibly from suicide. By 1674 England had gained nothing from the Anglo-Dutch War, and the Cavalier Parliament refused to provide further funds, forcing Charles to make peace. The power of the Cabal waned and that of Clifford's replacement, Thomas Osborne, 1st Duke of Leeds, Lord Danby grew, as did opposition towards him and the court. Politicians and peers believed that Charles II favoured a pro-French foreign policy that desired to emulate the absolutist (and Catholic) sovereignty of Louis XIV. In numerous pamphlets and parliamentary speeches between 1675 and 1678, "popery and arbitrary government" were decried for fear of the loss of English liberties and freedoms. Charles's wife Queen Catherine was unable to produce an heir; her four pregnancies had ended in miscarriages and stillbirths in 1662, February 1666, May 1668 and June 1669. Charles's heir presumptive was therefore his unpopular Catholic brother, James, Duke of York. Partly to assuage public fears that the royal family was too Catholic, Charles agreed that James's daughter, Mary II of England, Mary, should marry the Protestant William III of England, William of Orange. In 1678,
Titus Oates Titus Oates (15 September 1649 – 12/13 July 1705) was an English priest who fabricated the " Popish Plot", a supposed Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3&n ...

Titus Oates
, who had been alternately an Anglican and Society of Jesus, Jesuit priest, falsely warned of a "
Popish Plot The Popish Plot was a fictitious conspiracy invented by Titus Oates that between 1678 and 1681 gripped the Kingdoms of Kingdom of England, England and Kingdom of Scotland, Scotland in anti-Catholicism in the United Kingdom, anti-Catholic hysteria ...
" to assassinate the king, even accusing the queen of complicity. Charles did not believe the allegations, but ordered his chief minister Lord Danby to investigate. While Danby seems to have been rightly sceptical about Oates's claims, the Cavalier Parliament took them seriously. The people were seized with an anti-Catholic hysteria; judges and juries across the land condemned the supposed conspirators; numerous innocent individuals were executed. Later in 1678, Danby was impeached by the House of Commons on the charge of high treason. Although much of the nation had sought war with Catholic France, Charles had secretly negotiated with Louis XIV of France, Louis XIV, trying to reach an agreement under which England would remain neutral in return for money. Danby had publicly professed that he was hostile to France, but had reservedly agreed to abide by Charles's wishes. Unfortunately for him, the House of Commons failed to view him as a reluctant participant in the scandal, instead believing that he was the author of the policy. To save Danby from the impeachment trial, Charles dissolved the Cavalier Parliament in January 1679. The new English Parliament, which met in March of the same year, was quite hostile to Charles. Many members feared that he had intended to use the standing army to suppress dissent or impose Catholicism. However, with insufficient funds voted by Parliament, Charles was forced to gradually disband his troops. Having lost the support of Parliament, Danby resigned his post of Lord High Treasurer, but received a pardon from the king. In defiance of the royal will, the House of Commons declared that the dissolution of Parliament did not interrupt impeachment proceedings, and that the pardon was therefore invalid. When the House of Lords attempted to impose the punishment of exile—which the Commons thought too mild—the impeachment became stalled between the two Houses. As he had been required to do so many times during his reign, Charles bowed to the wishes of his opponents, committing Danby to the Tower of London, in which he was held for another five years.


Science

In Charles II's early childhood, William Cavendish, Earl of Newcastle was governor of the royal household and Brian Duppa, the Dean of Christchurch, was his tutor. Neither man thought that the study of science subjects was appropriate for a future king, and Newcastle even advised against studying any subject too seriously. However, as Charles grew older, the renowned surgeon William Harvey was appointed his tutor. He was famous for his work on blood circulation in the human body and already held the position of physician to Charles I; his studies were to influence Charles's own attitude to science. As the king's chief physician, Harvey accompanied Charles I to the
Battle of Edgehill The Battle of Edgehill (or Edge Hill) was a pitched battle A pitched battle or set-piece battle is a battle A battle is an occurrence of combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically ...
. There, in the morning, he was placed in charge of the two princes, Charles and his brother James, but the boys were back with their father for the start of the battle. In exile, Charles continued his education, including physics, chemistry and the mathematics of navigation. His tutors included the cleric John Earle (bishop), John Earle, well known for his satirical book ''Microcosmographie'', with whom he studied Latin and Greek, and Thomas Hobbes, the philosopher and author of ''Leviathon'', with whom he studied mathematics. Even though some of his studies and experiments may have been a way of passing the time, by the time Charles returned to England he was already knowledgeable in the mathematics of navigation and was a competent chemist. The new concepts and discoveries being found at this time fascinated Charles. Soon after his coronation he had a sundial and 35' long telescope installed in the Privy garden. From the 1640s a group of scientists began to meet informally in Wadham College in Oxford or at Gresham College in London. At that time, free lectures were already being given each week at Gresham College, on a variety of topics, and the new group wished to give a more academic and learned approach to science and to conduct experiments in physics and mathematics.Ashley M.,"England in the Seventeenth Century", Penguin, London, 1958Purver M., "The Royal Society, Concept and Creation", Routledge and Kegan Paul, London 1967 Included in this group were Harvey, Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke and Robert Boyle. Activities almost ceased during the civil war but in November 1668, following the Restoration, Wren gave a lecture after which a society was set up. Initially it had 12 members, but the number soon swelled to 41. Charles was already acquainted with, or aware of the activities of, members of the new society and readily agreed to give it royal patronage as the Royal Society in 1662. Following the award of the charter, the society was put on a more formal footing with members paying a fee of ten shillings, on election, and a shilling a week for meetings, whether in attendance or not. In November, Hooke was appointed as Curator of Experiments.Jardine L., The Curious Life of Robert Hooke", Harper, London 2004 This was a salaried post and Hooke organised the demonstration of experiments, on a regular basis, helped by a laboratory assistant. Nichols R., "Robert Hooke and the Royal Society", Book Guild, Sussex, England, 1999 Charles was aware of Hooke's weekly demonstrations and, in July 1663, to the Society's consternation, he threatened to attend in person. Wren was consulted for advice, to ensure that the display would be appropriate for the king. In the event, Charles never visited the society, although his cousin Prince Rupert did. As time passed, Charles lost interest in the activities of the society and left it to its own devices, but he continued to support scientific and commercial endeavours. He founded the Mathematical School at Christ's Hospital in 1673 and, two years later, following concerns over French advances in astronomy, he founded the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, Royal Observatory at Greenwich. He maintained an interest in chemistry and had a laboratory set up below the Privy Gallery. There, dissections were occasionally carried out, and observed by the king. Samuel Pepys noted in his diary that on the morning of Friday, 15 January 1669, while he was walking to Whitehall, he met the king who invited him to view his chemistry laboratory. Pepys's scientific knowledge was not great and he confessed to finding what he saw there beyond him. Charles developed painful gout in later life which limited the daily walks that he took regularly when younger. His keenness was now channelled to his laboratory where he would devote himself to his experiments, for hours at a time. Charles became particularly obsessed with mercury and often spent whole mornings attempting to distill it. Unfortunately, heating mercury in an open crucible releases mercury vapour, which is toxic and may have contributed to his later ill health.


Later years

Charles faced a political storm over his brother James, a Catholic, being next in line to the throne. The prospect of a Catholic monarch was vehemently opposed by Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury (previously Baron Ashley and a member of the Cabal, which had fallen apart in 1673). Shaftesbury's power base was strengthened when the House of Commons of 1679 introduced the Exclusion Bill, which sought to exclude the Duke of York from the Succession to the British throne, line of succession. Some even sought to confer the Crown on the Protestant
Duke of Monmouth Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a duchy, or of a member of Royal family, royalty, or nobility. As rulers, dukes are ranked below emperors, kings, grand princes, grand dukes, and sovereign princes. As royalty or nobility, th ...
, the eldest of Charles's illegitimate children. The ''Abhorrers''—those who thought the Exclusion Bill was abhorrent—were named Tory, Tories (after a term for dispossessed Irish Catholic bandits), while the ''Petitioners''—those who supported a petitioning campaign in favour of the Exclusion Bill—were called British Whig Party, Whigs (after a term for rebellious Scottish Presbyterians).


Absolute monarch

Fearing that the Exclusion Bill would be passed, and bolstered by some acquittals in the continuing Plot trials, which seemed to him to indicate a more favourable public mood towards Catholicism, Charles dissolved the English Parliament, for a second time that year, in mid-1679. Charles's hopes for a more moderate Parliament were not fulfilled; within a few months he had dissolved Parliament yet again, after it sought to pass the Exclusion Bill. When a new Parliament assembled at Oxford in March 1681, Charles dissolved it for a fourth time after just a few days. During the 1680s, however, popular support for the Exclusion Bill ebbed, and Charles experienced a nationwide surge of loyalty. Lord Shaftesbury was prosecuted (albeit unsuccessfully) for treason in 1681 and later fled to Holland, where he died. For the remainder of his reign, Charles ruled without Parliament. Charles's opposition to the Exclusion Bill angered some Protestants. Protestant conspirators formulated the
Rye House Plot The Rye House Plot of 1683 was a plan to assassinate King Charles II of England and his brother (and heir to the throne) James II of England, James, Duke of York. The royal party went from Westminster to Newmarket, Suffolk, Newmarket to see horse ...

Rye House Plot
, a plan to murder him and the Duke of York as they returned to London after horse races in Newmarket, Suffolk, Newmarket. A great fire, however, destroyed Charles's lodgings at Newmarket, which forced him to leave the races early, thus inadvertently avoiding the planned attack. News of the failed plot was leaked. Protestant politicians such as Arthur Capell, 1st Earl of Essex, the Earl of Essex, Algernon Sydney, William Russell, Lord Russell, Lord Russell and the Duke of Monmouth were implicated in the plot. Essex slit his own throat while imprisoned in the Tower of London; Sydney and Russell were executed for high treason on very flimsy evidence; and the Duke of Monmouth went into exile at the court of William of Orange. Lord Danby and the surviving Catholic lords held in the Tower were released and the king's Catholic brother, James, acquired greater influence at court. Titus Oates was convicted and imprisoned for defamation. Thus through the last years of Charles's reign, his approach towards his opponents changed, and he was compared by Whigs to the contemporary
Louis XIV of France Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; 5 September 16381 September 1715), also known as Louis the Great () or the Sun King (), was from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the of any monarch of a sovereign country in ...

Louis XIV of France
, with his form of government in those years termed "slavery". Many of them were prosecuted and their estates seized, with Charles replacing judges and sheriffs at will and packing juries to achieve conviction. To destroy opposition in London, Charles first disenfranchised many Whigs in the 1682 municipal elections, and in 1683 the Ancient borough#Charters of incorporation, London charter was forfeited. In retrospect, the use of the judicial system by Charles (and later his brother and heir James) as a tool against opposition, helped establish the idea of separation of powers between the judiciary and the Crown in Whig thought.


Death

Charles suffered a sudden apoplectic fit on the morning of 2 February 1685, and died aged 54 at 11:45 am, four days later, at the Palace of Whitehall. The suddenness of his illness and death led to suspicion of poison in the minds of many, including one of the royal doctors; however, a more modern medical analysis has held that the symptoms of his final illness are similar to those of uremia, uraemia (a clinical syndrome due to kidney dysfunction). Charles had a laboratory among his many interests, where prior to his illness he had been experimenting with mercury (element), mercury. Mercuric poisoning can produce irreversible kidney damage; but the case for this being a cause of his death is unproven. In the days between his collapse and his death, Charles endured a variety of torturous treatments including bloodletting, purging and Cupping therapy, cupping in hopes of effecting a recovery, which may have exacerbated his uraemia through dehydration instead of helping alleviate it. On his deathbed Charles asked his brother, James, to look after his mistresses: "be well to Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, and let not poor Nell Gwyn, Nelly starve". He told his courtiers, "I am sorry, gentlemen, for being such a time a-dying", and expressed regret at his treatment of his wife. On the last evening of his life he was received into the Catholic Church in the presence of Father John Huddleston, though the extent to which he was fully conscious or committed, and with whom the idea originated, is unclear. He was buried in Westminster Abbey "without any manner of pomp" on 14 February. Charles was succeeded by his brother James II and VII.


Legacy

The escapades of Charles after his defeat at the Battle of Worcester remained important to him throughout his life. He delighted and bored listeners with tales of his escape for many years. Numerous accounts of his adventures were published, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the Restoration. Though not averse to his escape being ascribed to divine providence, Charles himself seems to have delighted most in his ability to sustain his disguise as a man of ordinary origins, and to move unrecognised through his realm. Ironic and cynical, Charles took pleasure in retailing stories which demonstrated the undetectable nature of any inherent majesty he possessed. Charles had no legitimate children, but acknowledged a dozen by seven mistresses, including five by Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland, Barbara Villiers, Lady Castlemaine, for whom the Duke of Cleveland, Dukedom of Cleveland was created. His other mistresses included Moll Davis, Nell Gwyn, Elizabeth Killigrew, Viscountess Shannon, Elizabeth Killigrew, Catherine Pegge,
Lucy Walter Lucy Walter or Lucy Barlow (c. 1630 – 1658) was a Welsh people, Welsh Royal mistress, mistress of King Charles II of England and mother of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth. She is believed to have been born in 1630 or a little later at Roch Cast ...
and Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth. As a result, in his lifetime he was often nicknamed "Old Rowley", the name of his favourite racehorse, notable as a stallion. His subjects resented paying taxes that were spent on his mistresses and their children, many of whom received dukedoms or earldoms. The present Duke of Buccleuch, Dukes of Buccleuch, Duke of Richmond, Richmond, Duke of Grafton, Grafton and Duke of St Albans, St Albans descend from Charles in unbroken male line. Diana, Princess of Wales, was descended from two of Charles's illegitimate sons: the Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, Dukes of Grafton and Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, Richmond. Diana's son, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, second in line to the British throne, is likely to be the first British monarch descended from Charles II. Charles's eldest son, the James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, Duke of Monmouth, led a rebellion against James II, but was defeated at the Battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July 1685, captured and executed. James was eventually dethroned in 1688, in the course of the Glorious Revolution. Looking back on Charles's reign, Tories tended to view it as a time of benevolent monarchy whereas Whigs perceived it as a terrible despotism. Today it is possible to assess him without the taint of partisanship, and he is seen as more of a lovable rogue—in the words of his contemporary John Evelyn, "a prince of many virtues and many great imperfections, debonair, easy of access, not bloody or cruel". John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, wrote more lewdly of Charles: Professor Ronald Hutton summarises the polarised historiography: Hutton says Charles was a popular king in his own day and a "legendary figure" in British history. The anniversary of the English Restoration, Restoration (which was also Charles's birthday)—29 May—was recognised in England until the mid-nineteenth century as Oak Apple Day, after the Royal Oak in which Charles hid during his escape from the forces of Oliver Cromwell. Traditional celebrations involved the wearing of oak leaves but these have now died out. Charles II is Cultural depictions of Charles II of England, depicted extensively in art, literature and media. Charleston, South Carolina, and South Kingstown, Rhode Island, are named after him.


Titles, styles, honours and arms


Titles and styles

The official style (manner of address), style of Charles II was "Charles the Second, by the Grace of God, List of monarchs of England, King of England, List of Monarchs of Scotland, Scotland, English Kings of France, France and
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, Fidei defensor, Defender of the Faith, etc." The English claims to the French throne, claim to France was only nominal, and had been asserted by every English monarch since Edward III of England, Edward III, regardless of the amount of French territory actually controlled.


Honours

* KG: Order of the Garter, Knight of the Garter, ''21 May 1638''


Arms

Charles's Coat of arms of the Prince of Wales, coat of arms as Prince of Wales was the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, royal arms (which he later inherited), differenced by a Label (heraldry), label of three points Argent. His arms as monarch were: Quartering (heraldry), Quarterly, I and IV Grandquarterly, Azure (heraldry), Azure three fleurs-de-lis Or (heraldry), Or (for France) and Gules three lions Attitude (heraldry)#Passant, passant guardant in Pale (heraldry), pale Or (Royal Arms of England, for England); II Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (Royal coat of arms of Scotland, for Scotland); III Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (Coat of arms of Ireland, for Ireland).


Issue

By
Lucy Walter Lucy Walter or Lucy Barlow (c. 1630 – 1658) was a Welsh people, Welsh Royal mistress, mistress of King Charles II of England and mother of James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth. She is believed to have been born in 1630 or a little later at Roch Cast ...
(c. 1630 – 1658): * James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, James Crofts, later Scott (1649–1685), created
Duke of Monmouth Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a duchy, or of a member of Royal family, royalty, or nobility. As rulers, dukes are ranked below emperors, kings, grand princes, grand dukes, and sovereign princes. As royalty or nobility, th ...
(1663) in England and
Duke of Buccleuch The title Duke of Buccleuch , formerly also spelt Duke of Buccleugh, is a title in the Peerage of Scotland A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary titles (and sometimes Life peer, non-hereditary titles) in a numb ...
(1663) in Scotland. Monmouth was born nine months after Walter and Charles II first met, and was acknowledged as his son by Charles II, but James II suggested that he was the son of another of her lovers, Colonel Robert Sidney, rather than Charles. Lucy Walter had a daughter, Mary Crofts, born after James in 1651, but Charles II was not the father, since he and Walter parted in September 1649. By Elizabeth Killigrew, Viscountess Shannon, Elizabeth Killigrew (1622–1680), daughter of Sir Robert Killigrew, married Francis Boyle, 1st Viscount Shannon, in 1660: * Charlotte FitzRoy, Countess of Yarmouth, Charlotte Jemima Henrietta Maria FitzRoy (1650–1684), married firstly James Howard (dramatist), James Howard and secondly William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth By Catherine Pegge: * Charles FitzCharles, 1st Earl of Plymouth, Charles FitzCharles (1657–1680), known as "Don Carlo", created Earl of Plymouth (1675) * Catherine FitzCharles (born 1658; she either died young or became a nun at Dunkirk) By Barbara Palmer, 1st Duchess of Cleveland, Barbara Villiers (1641–1709), wife of Roger Palmer, 1st Earl of Castlemaine, and created Duke of Cleveland, Duchess of Cleveland in her own right: * Anne Lennard, Countess of Sussex, Lady Anne Palmer (Fitzroy) (1661–1722), married Thomas Lennard, 1st Earl of Sussex. She may have been the daughter of Roger Palmer, but Charles accepted her. * Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland, Charles Fitzroy (1662–1730), created Duke of Southampton (1675), became 2nd Duke of Cleveland (1709) * Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, Henry Fitzroy (1663–1690), created Earl of Euston (1672), Duke of Grafton (1675) * Charlotte Lee, Countess of Lichfield, Charlotte Fitzroy (1664–1717), married Edward Lee, 1st Earl of Lichfield * George FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Northumberland, George Fitzroy (1665–1716), created Earl of Northumberland (1674), Duke of Northumberland (1678) * (Lady Barbara FitzRoy, Barbara (Benedicta) Fitzroy (1672–1737) – She was probably the child of John Churchill, later Dukes of Marlborough, Duke of Marlborough, who was another of Cleveland's many lovers, and was never acknowledged by Charles as his own daughter.) By Nell Gwyn (1650–1687): * Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St Albans, Charles Beauclerk (1670–1726), created Duke of St Albans (1684) * James, Lord Beauclerk (1671–1680) By Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth, Louise Renée de Penancoet de Kérouaille (1649–1734), created Duke of Portsmouth, Duchess of Portsmouth in her own right (1673): * Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, Charles Lennox (1672–1723), created Duke of Richmond (1675) in England and Duke of Lennox (1675) in Scotland. By Moll Davis, Mary 'Moll' Davis, courtesan and actress of repute: * Lady Mary Tudor (1673–1726), married Edward Radclyffe, 2nd Earl of Derwentwater; after Edward's death, she married Henry Graham (of Levens), and upon his death she married James Rooke. Other probable mistresses include: * Christabella Wyndham * Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin * Winifred Wells – one of Queen Catherine's Maids of Honour; . * Jane Roberts – the daughter of a clergyman * Mrs Knight – a famous singer * Elizabeth, Countess of Falmouth, Elizabeth Berkeley, née Bagot, Dowager Countess of Falmouth – the widow of Charles Berkeley, 1st Earl of Falmouth * Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, Countess of Kildare Letters claiming that Marguerite or Margaret de Carteret bore Charles a son named James de la Cloche in 1646 are dismissed by historians as forgeries.; .


Genealogical table


Notes


References


Bibliography

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Further reading

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External links

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