The shocking legacies of King Charles I and King Charles II

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The former Prince of Wales has officially chosen the name King Charles III following the death of his mother, the Queen, yesterday.

It was announced last night that the Queen had died at Balmoral at the age of 96, following  her historic 70 year reign.

According to The Telegraph, the new King is understood to have considered choosing the name George VII instead of Charles, due to the very colourful legacies of Charles I and Charles II. 

Charles I, who became the nation’s king at the tender age of 24 following the death of his brother Henry and reigned between 1625 and 1649.

The former Prince of Wales has adopted the officially chosen the name King Charles following the death of his mother, the Queen, yesterday. He is the third King to take the name – and the first two were notorious for their antics while reigning 

He was put on trial for treason by MPs, including the Parliamentarian general Oliver Cromwell, after they claimed he had committed ‘wicked’ abuses of power’. 

Meanwhile King Charles II, who 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, was so notorious he was known as the ‘Merry Monarch’. 

Here FEMAIL reveals the fateful lives of the first two King Charles…  

KING CHARLES I 

King Charles I was born in Fife, Scotland, in 1600 and became king in 1625 following the death of his older brother Henry

King Charles I was born in Fife, Scotland, in 1600 and became king in 1625 following the death of his older brother Henry

King Charles I was born in Fife, Scotland, in 1600 and became king in 1625 following the death of his older brother Henry.

The new monarch favoured a High Anglican form of worship and his wife, Henrietta Maria of France, was Catholic.

After his succession, Charles quarrelled with Parliament, which sought to curb his royal prerogative.

The King believed in the divine right of kings and thought he could govern according to his own conscience. Many of his subjects opposed his policies, particularly the levying of taxes without parliamentary consent, and perceived his actions as those of a tyrannical monarch.

He went on to dissolve parliament three times from 1625 to 1629 and decided to rule alone.

He went on to dissolve parliament three times from 1625 to 1629 and decided to rule alone (pictured)

He went on to dissolve parliament three times from 1625 to 1629 and decided to rule alone (pictured)

This meant the king was left to try and raise funds by non-parliamentary means, which made him unpopular with the British public. He also tried to force a new prayer book on the country.

King Charles visited Bramsill House in 1630, while under pressure from his subjects following his repeated clashes with Parliament.

The King, on January 4, 1642, tried personally to arrest five MPs for treason. he entered the Commons accompanied by armed men and the Speaker of the time, William Lenthal, vacated the chair for the monarch. 

However, he refused to give up the MPs and famously remarked ‘May it please your majesty, I have neither eyes to see not tongue to speak in this place, but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here’.

The MPs fled, Charles declared ‘all my birds have flown’, and he retreated. He was to be the last monarch to ever enter the chamber.    

The result, was the outbreak of civil war after more than 150 years.  

In 1646 the Royalists were defeated and Charles subsequently surrendered to the Scots and he later escaped to the Isle of Wight a year later.

Charles was put on trial for treason by a number of MPs, including Parliamentarian general Oliver Cromwell.

He was convicted and later executed outside the Banqueting House on Whitehall in London. 

KING CHARLES II

Charles II was born at St James's Palace on 29 May 1630, eldest surviving son of Charles I, king of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his wife Henrietta Maria, sister of Louis XIII of France

Charles II was born at St James’s Palace on 29 May 1630, eldest surviving son of Charles I, king of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his wife Henrietta Maria, sister of Louis XIII of France

Charles II was born at St James’s Palace on 29 May 1630, eldest surviving son of Charles I, king of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his wife Henrietta Maria, sister of Louis XIII of France.

Charles was brought up by strong women — his French mother Henrietta Maria and his pretty nanny-cum-governess Christabella Wyndham, who was rumoured to have educated the teenage prince in more ways than one. As a result, he was always attracted to feisty females. 

In August 1642, the long-running dispute between his father and Parliament culminated in the outbreak of the First English Civil War.

Promiscuous: Barbara Palmer, painted by Peter Lely. Born Barbara Villiers, she once enjoyed a menage-a-trois with the Earl of Chesterfield

Promiscuous: Barbara Palmer, painted by Peter Lely. Born Barbara Villiers, she once enjoyed a menage-a-trois with the Earl of Chesterfield

In October, Charles and his younger brother James were present at the Battle of Edgehill and spent the next two years based in the Royalist capital of Oxford.

His father was surrendered into captivity in May 1646.

Escaping from England in 1646 after the Civil War, Charles spent his 14-year exile in the Netherlands and France, where he observed the louche court of his cousin Louis XIV.

And when Charles was not planning how to win back his crown, he passed the time in pleasure-seeking. 

His first significant mistress was Lucy Walter, a ‘beautiful strumpet’ who had joined the court in exile in The Hague in 1648 and seduced the 18-year-old Charles. She swiftly bore him an illegitimate son, James, later the Duke of Monmouth.

Neither she nor Charles were faithful, and when her promiscuity became obvious and embarrassing, he paid her off. She died of syphilis in 1658.

The Execution of Charles I took place in January 1649, with England becoming a republic. 

On 5 February, the Covenanter Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II “King of Great Britain, France and Ireland” at the Mercat Cross, Edinburgh.

However he was refused entrance to the country unless he agreed to establish Presbyterianism as the state religion in all three of his kingdoms.

Upon his arrival in Scotland on 23 June 1650, he formally agreed to the Covenant; his abandonment of Episcopal church governance, although winning him support in Scotland, left him unpopular in England. 

His coronation led to the Anglo-Scottish war (1650–1652). Charles II was invited to restore the monarchy in 1660 after 11 years of the Commonwealth.

When he returned from exile in 1660, 11 years after the beheading of his father, Charles I, his primary intention was simple: he wanted to restore the glamour, splendour and power of the monarchy

When he returned from exile in 1660, 11 years after the beheading of his father, Charles I, his primary intention was simple: he wanted to restore the glamour, splendour and power of the monarchy

When he returned from exile in 1660, 11 years after the beheading of his father, Charles I, his primary intention was simple: he wanted to restore the glamour, splendour and power of the monarchy.

England was fed up with Puritan regulations, and Charles’s style proved instantly popular.

His court became one of the most hedonistic in history, and he became known as The Merry Monarch. 

The stunning theatre of his return was followed by the most extravagant coronation within memory. 

The King was immensely tall, and he took care to make still more of an impression with sumptuous cloth, jewels and gold.

Charles continued moving through a succession of lovers until he met the alluring Barbara Palmer in 1660. Born Barbara Villiers, as a teenager she had taken the Earl of Chesterfield as her lover and once enjoyed a ménage-a-trois with him and another girl. 

The King was not used to rejection — most women were only too happy to share the royal bed if so requested. 

And although the court was full of beautiful and willing women, Charles often ventured beyond the royal palace to satisfy his desires.

A coterie of debauched rakes, known as the Merry Gang, helped him on this quest. These men, who included the Duke of Buckingham, Charles Sackville, the Earl of Dorset, Charles Sedley and John Wilmot, the Duke of Rochester, delighted in outdoing each other in depravity.

Rochester once took Charles, in disguise, on a visit to a brothel. For a joke, he then stole the King’s clothes and money while he was engaged in the act, leaving Charles with no option but to pay with his royal ring.

Despite his promiscuity, however, Charles always treated women with respect. Indeed it was his willingness to listen to their demands — for money, titles and power — and habit of treating them almost as equals that worried his courtiers. 

Another of Charles’ mistresses, the French heiress Hortense Mancini, arrived at court in 1676 with a reputation for love affairs with both men and women.

Charles was pleased when Hortense became firm friends with Anne, his 15-year-old daughter by Barbara Villiers. He was less happy when he learned that Hortense and Anne, who was married and pregnant with her first child, were conducting an affair. Anne was hastily sent to the country. When Charles died in 1685, almost the last words he spoke were of the women who he had loved longest and best.

He urged his brother to look after Barbara and Louise — and ‘let not poor Nelly starve’.

Like his father, Charles fell out with Parliament and dissolved it in 1681.

He ruled without it until his death four years later. 

For all his vices, Charles managed to hold together a deeply divided country over his 25-year reign. 

He had promoted tolerance, the theatre and arts. It was not a bad legacy for a man who had spent so much of his time ‘revelling, drinking and whoring’. 

How Charles’ title has changed following his mother the Queen’s death  

Charles

WAS: Prince of Wales

NOW: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Members of the royal family are seeing a title change following the death of Britain's longest reigning monarch, the Queen. Formerly Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, has become King Charles III

Members of the royal family are seeing a title change following the death of Britain’s longest reigning monarch, the Queen. Formerly Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, has become King Charles III 

Charles, who was the Prince of Wales, is now King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He is also King of other Commonwealth realms. His style is His Majesty rather than His Royal Highness.

He is now king, and will be known by the regnal name of King Charles III, Clarence House has confirmed. As his full name is Charles Philip Arthur George there was a chance that he could have opted to use one of these names instead.  

Charles is also Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Charles is now the Duke of Lancaster.

As the new King, Charles will be front-and-centre of the new-look monarchy. Alongside his reported desire to slim-down the size of the family, the biggest immediate change will be his residence.

The former Prince of Wales’s official residence has been Clarence House, on The Mall in the City of Westminster, since 2003.

While the Queen’s official residence has been Buckingham Palace, she spent much of her time at her favoured Windsor Castle following the death of her beloved Prince Philip.

According to royal biographer Penny Junor in her book ‘The Firm’, the Queen wanted to remain living at Clarence House after her father’s death, but was convinced by Winston Churchill to move to Buckingham Palace – because of its significance as the home of the monarch.

It is believed Kings Charles will follow in his mother’s footsteps and move into Buckingham Palace.

 

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