62 Facts About Charles II of England


Charles II was King of Scotland from 1649 until 1651, and King of England, Scotland and Ireland from the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy until his death in 1685.

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Charles II of England spent the next nine years in exile in France, the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands.

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Charles II of England acquiesced to the Clarendon Code even though he favoured a policy of religious tolerance.

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Louis agreed to aid him in the Third Anglo-Dutch War and pay him a pension, and Charles II of England secretly promised to convert to Catholicism at an unspecified future date.

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Charles II of England attempted to introduce religious freedom for Catholics and Protestant dissenters with his 1672 Royal Declaration of Indulgence, but the English Parliament forced him to withdraw it.

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Charles II of England sided with the Tories, and after the discovery of the Rye House Plot to murder Charles II of England and James in 1683, some Whig leaders were executed or forced into exile.

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Charles II of England dissolved the English Parliament in 1681 and ruled alone until his death in 1685.

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Traditionally considered one of the most popular English kings, Charles II of England is known as the Merry Monarch, a reference to the liveliness and hedonism of his court.

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Charles II of England acknowledged at least 12 illegitimate children by various mistresses, but left no legitimate children and was succeeded by his brother, James.

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Charles II of England was their second child, the first being a son born about a year before who died within a day.

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Charles II of England's godparents included his maternal uncle Louis XIII and maternal grandmother, Marie de' Medici, the Dowager Queen of France, both of whom were Catholics.

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At birth, Charles II of England automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, along with several other associated titles.

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At The Hague, Charles II of England had a brief affair with Lucy Walter, who later falsely claimed that they had secretly married.

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When negotiations with the Scots stalled, Charles II of England authorised Lord Montrose to land in the Orkney Islands with a small army to threaten the Scots with invasion, in the hope of forcing an agreement more to his liking.

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Montrose feared that Charles II of England would accept a compromise, and so chose to invade mainland Scotland anyway.

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Charles II of England reluctantly promised that he would abide by the terms of a treaty agreed between him and the Scots Parliament at Breda, and support the Solemn League and Covenant, which authorised Presbyterian church governance across Britain.

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Charles II of England was provided with a Scottish court, and the record of his food and household expenses at Falkland Palace and Perth survives.

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Under the Instrument of Government passed by Parliament, Cromwell was appointed Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1653, effectively placing the British Isles under military rule.

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Charles II of England lived a life of leisure at Saint-Germain-en-Laye near Paris, living on a grant from Louis XIV of 600 livres a month.

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Charles II of England 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.

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Theatre licences granted by Charles II of England 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.

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Negotiations with Portugal for Charles's marriage to Catherine of Braganza began during his father's reign and upon the restoration, Queen Luisa of Portugal, acting as regent, reopened negotiations with England that resulted in an alliance.

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Almost all of the ships were sunk except for the flagship, Royal Charles II of England, which was taken back to the Netherlands as a prize.

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In 1668, Charles II of England allied itself with Sweden, and with its former enemy the Netherlands, to oppose Louis XIV in the War of Devolution.

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In 1670, Charles II of England, seeking to solve his financial troubles, agreed to the Treaty of Dover, under which Louis XIV would pay him £160, 000 each year.

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In exchange, Charles II of England agreed to supply Louis with troops and to announce his conversion to Catholicism "as soon as the welfare of his kingdom will permit".

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Charles II of England endeavoured to ensure that the Treaty—especially the conversion clause—remained secret.

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Meanwhile, by a series of five charters, Charles II of England 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.

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In 1670, Charles II of England 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.

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In 1672, Charles II of England issued the Royal Declaration of Indulgence, in which he purported to suspend all penal laws against Catholics and other religious dissenters.

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Politicians and peers believed that Charles II favoured a pro-French foreign policy that desired to emulate the absolutist sovereignty of Louis XIV.

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Partly to assuage public fears that the royal family was too Catholic, Charles II of England agreed that James's daughter, Mary, should marry the Protestant William of Orange.

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Charles II of England did not believe the allegations, but ordered his chief minister Lord Danby to investigate.

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However, as Charles II of England grew older, the renowned surgeon William Harvey was appointed his tutor.

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Charles II of England 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.

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Charles II of England's tutors included the cleric John Earle, well known for his satirical book Microcosmographie, with whom he studied Latin and Greek, and Thomas Hobbes, the philosopher and author of Leviathan, with whom he studied mathematics.

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In France, Charles II of England assisted his childhood friend, the Earl of Buckingham, with his experiments in chemistry and alchemy, with the Earl convinced he was close to producing the philosopher's stone.

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Charles II of England was so impressed by what he saw that he ordered his own 36' telescope which he had installed in the Privy Garden, at Whitehall.

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Charles II of England had a laboratory installed, in Whitehall, with easy access to his bedroom.

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Also, Charles II of England had a sundial installed in the Privy Garden, by which he could set his personal pocket watch.

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In 1662, Charles II of England was pleased to grant a royal charter to a group of scientists and others who had established a formal society in 1660 to give a more academic and learned approach to science and to conduct experiments in physics and mathematics.

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Sir Robert Moray, a member of Charles II of England's court, played an important part in achieving this outcome, and he was to be the first president of this new Royal Society.

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In fact, Charles II of England never did attend a Society meeting, but he remained aware of the activities there from his discussions with Society members, especially Morey.

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Charles II of England seemed unable to grasp the significance of the basic laws of physics being established at that time, including Boyle's Law and Hooke's Law and the concept of atmospheric pressure and the barometer and the importance of air for the support of life.

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Charles II of England 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 at Greenwich.

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Charles II of England maintained an interest in chemistry and regularly visited his private laboratory.

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Charles II of England developed painful gout in later life which limited the daily walks that he took regularly when younger.

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Charles II of England's keenness was now channelled to his laboratory where he would devote himself to his experiments, for hours at a time, sometimes helped by Robert Moray.

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Charles II of England was particularly interested in alchemy, which he had first encountered many years earlier, during his exile with the Duke of Buckingham.

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However, Charles II of England was not alone in suffering from the effects of mercury poisoning as a number of his contemporaries, alchemists, showed the symptoms of mercury poisoning in later life, including Buckingham, Isaac Newton, George Starkey and Evelyn's manservant Richard Hoare.

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Charles II of England faced a political storm over his brother James, a Catholic, being next in line to the throne.

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Many of them were prosecuted and their estates seized, with Charles II of England replacing judges and sheriffs at will and packing juries to achieve conviction.

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Charles II of England had a laboratory among his many interests, where prior to his illness he had been experimenting with mercury.

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On his deathbed Charles II of England asked his brother, James, to look after his mistresses: "be well to Portsmouth, and let not poor Nelly starve".

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Charles II of England told his courtiers, "I am sorry, gentlemen, for being such a time a-dying", and expressed regret at his treatment of his wife.

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Charles II of England delighted and bored listeners with tales of his escape for many years.

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Ironic and cynical, Charles II of England took pleasure in retailing stories which demonstrated the undetectable nature of any inherent majesty he possessed.

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Charles II of England had no legitimate children, but acknowledged a dozen by seven mistresses, including five by Barbara Villiers, Lady Castlemaine, for whom the Dukedom of Cleveland was created.

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Charles II of England's subjects resented paying taxes that were spent on his mistresses and their children, many of whom received dukedoms or earldoms.

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Hutton says Charles II of England was a popular king in his own day and a "legendary figure" in British history.

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Charles II of England was the playboy monarch, naughty but nice, the hero of all who prized urbanity, tolerance, good humour, and the pursuit of pleasure above the more earnest, sober, or material virtues.

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Charles II is depicted extensively in art, literature and media.

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