Hey there, Weekend Warriors! It’s another Sunday round-up of the monarchs that have shaped London, England’s history, a bit of cultural food-for-thought as you prepare your international relocation to London. Last week, we saw the restoration of the monarchy after two “terms” of Commonwealth rule under Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard Cromwell. Today, we’ll meet King Charles II, who finally assumes his rightful seat on the throne long after his father Charles I had been executed to make way for Commonwealth rule.
If you recall, civil war broke out in England under Charles I‘s reign, at which time Charles II was only twelve. Nonetheless, at age fourteen Charles II was already appointed as nominal commander in chief in western England. As tensions surrounding his father’s monarchical rule culminated, young Charles II was forced into exile on the European continent. It was in 1650, the year after his father’s execution, that Charles II struck a deal with the Scots to become King of Scotland, and he invaded England under this authority yet was defeated by Oliver Cromwell in 1651.
Having retreated back into exile, it is not until 1660 that Charles II is now invited to return to us in England and be crowned as King. King Charles II is rather lenient on those responsible for his father’s execution back in 1649—less than ten of the conspirators are executed. He also must exude a great degree of political tolerance considering that, though the citizenry is elated to have a monarch again, Parliament now assumes most of the control. Thus paves the way for a modern concept of government as the civil war factions that had emerged during Charles I’s reign ultimately evolve into political parties (the Cavaliers ultimately become the Tory Party and the Roundheads the Whig Party). Charles II’s tolerance extends into religious affairs as well, partially because of his own Catholic leanings.
King Charles II has a doozy of a first few years of rule. Contrary to the “Great” part of the nicknames given to a couple of them, the major events that transpire are really quite awful. 1665 is the Great Plague, and 1666 is the Great Fire. Then in 1667, England loses its war against the Dutch. See what I mean?
Join me next Sunday for the continuation of our exploration of King Charles II’s reign. And in the meantime, breath easy knowing that your London Relocation agent will ensure you reign victorious over what could otherwise be a dreaded London apartment search! It’ll be a great experience for you, and by “great,” I really mean it this time! No verbal irony. 😉