Stuart King: King Charles II

King Charles II was born on the 29th May 1630, at St.James Palace to parents Charles I and Henrietta Maria.  He ascended to the English throne on the 29th May 1660, by invitation from Parliament, and was crowned King Charles II of England, on the 23rd April 1661 at Westminster Abbey.

The English Civil War, and the execution of an English monarch; Charles I, left a bad taste, events of which were left firmly in the past.

The “Triennial Act” of 1641 was repealed, and Bishops were restored to their seats in Parliament in 1661.

Puritans were given an option in 1662, follow the doctrines as laid down in the Church of England, or leave the church, all as set out in the 1660 “Act of Uniformity and Oblivion.”

In May of 1662, King Charles II married the Portuguese Princess, one Catherine of Braganza, and Queen Catherine bore Charles ne heir’s to the English throne.

Charles had eight mistresses: Lucy Walter, Lady Castlemaine, Lady Portsmouth and Nell Gwyn to name just a few.  His mistresses gave birth to many illegitimate children:

James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth

Charles Fitzcharles, the Earl of Plymouth

Charles Fitzroy, the Duke of Cleveland

Charlotte Lee, the Countess of Lichfield

Henry Fitzroy, the Duke of Grafton

George Fitzroy, the Duke of Northumberland

Charles Beauclerk, the Duke of St.Albans

Charles Lennox, the Duke of Richmond

What he wanted was a legitimate heir to continue the family line, and succeed him, as King of England, sadly that was not to be…

In 1664 English forces seized the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, and renamed it; New York.  In 1666 the forces of France and Denmark assisted the Dutch, and in 1667, Dutch forces laid siege to England, capturing the Royal Charles, England’s flagship and the sinking of three other ships on the River Medway.  Peace talks commenced in the latter part of 1667.

In 1665, the plague (Black Death) struck England, and some 200,000 are known to have lost their lives in London.  This was followed by the Great Fire of London in 1666, destroying 13,500 houses, 87 churches, and sixteen people lost their lives.

Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to rebuild much of London, including St.Paul’s Cathedral.

In 1670, King Charles II signed the “Secret Treaty of Dover” this stated Charles would become Catholic, and France would side with England against the Dutch.  In return England would receive subsidies from France.

Charles issued a “Declaration of Indulgence,” which suspended penal laws against Catholics, but was forced to withdraw the declaration by Parliament in 1673.

In 1678, Titus Oates alleges a Catholic plot to murder King Charles II, and return England, to a Catholic country.  The allegation involved the Queen and Danby, the Lord Treasurer.

In 1679, attempts were made to remove James II, the Catholic convert and brother of Charles II, as heir apparent to the English throne.

In 1679, the “Habeas Corpus” act was passed through Parliament, which made it illegal to imprison an individual, without trial.

In 1683 the “Rye House Plot” was discovered, that involved the murder of Charles II and his brother James II, returning total rule of England back to Parliament.  Some of the conspirators were executed, others sent into exile.

King Charles II, did as his father had done many times during his reign; dissolved Parliament.

On the 6th February 1685, King Charles II converted to Catholicism, a deathbed conversion, and died at Whitehall Palace, and  buried at Westminster Abbey.

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