King Charles II
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1979
Born and raised at court during the height of the early Stuart years in England, Charles was little more than a boy when his father, Charles I, found himself at the centre of the civil wars, which led to his defeat and execution in 1649. On his father's death Charles was King in name only, and spent years of exile, poverty and humiliation in Europe.
On being recalled to the throne at the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, he resolved never to go on his travels again. A cautious, wise ruler, he was careful not to exceed his prerogative. His patronage of racing, love of the arts, theatre and music, his planning and building of parks and palaces, and his eye for mistresses (especially the actress Nell Gwynn), all led to his being regarded with affection by his countrymen despite his faults and weaknesses. When he died in 1685 the throne was once again safe and secure.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste