Charles II (29 May 1630- 6 February 1685) king of England, Scotland
and Ireland from 1660, the eldest son of Charles
I and Henrietta
Maria. During the Civil War he was sent as a Prince of Wales to govern
the west of England, then he was forced into an exile. On the execution
of his father he assumed the title of king and was proclaimed king in Edinburgh.
He landed in Scotland in June 1649 and was crowned king at Scone on the
1st of January, 1651. He invaded England, but was defeated by Cromwell
at the battle of Worcester in September and barely escaped to France. He
spent next 9 years in an impoverished exile in France and in the Netherlands.
After the fall of the protectorate in 1659, General Monk negotiated the
restoration of the monarchy and on May 29, 1660 Charles entered London.
In 1662 Charles married Catherine of Braganza, but they had no children,
although he had numerous mistresses and about 17 illegitimate children,
most of them acknowledged and ennobled. The restored monarchy survived
a number of minor conspiracies and risings which the government with the
support of a strongly royalist parliament used in order to pass severely
repressive laws against dissenters and non-conformists. Charles himself
was tolerant on the religious matters and personally inclined to favor
the Roman Catholicism. He attempted several times to alleviate the catholics'
lot by passing the Declaration of Indulgence, but was each time overruled
by the parliament. Charles fought an unsuccessful wars with Holland (1665-1667),
in 1670 he secretly signed the Treaty of Dover with Louis XIV of France,
by which he agreed to join the Catholic church with his brother James (future
king James II) and enter into an alliance with France against Holland in
exchange of £200 000 a year from Louis XIV. In 1677 under the pressure
of the Parliament he agreed to the marriage of the James's eldest daughter
and heir Mary (future Queen Mary II) to William of Orange (the future William
III). James openly proclaimed his Catholics beliefs and in 1673 married
a Catholic Mary of Modena, although they did not have children for 15 years.
The parliament tried twice to pass the Exclusion Bill to exclude him from
the succession, but failed in both attempts, the last because Charles dismissed
the parliament. He ruled the remaining years without summoning the parliament
and died in 1685 of a stroke.
See: Anthony van Dyck. Prince of Wales, Future Charles II, King of England.