Charles II

Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland with her son, possibly Charles FitzRoy, by Peter Lely, c.1664. Philip Mould & Company/Bridgeman Images.

The French tradition of the royal mistress gave new opportunities for women at the court of Charles II.

Charles II in about 1650, by Adriaen Hanneman (or his studio).

A lively account highlights the heroic exploits of his loyal companions and the ravages of war against Cromwell.

The belief that a king’s laying on of hands could cure the disfiguring disease of scrofula gained new heights of popularity during the Restoration, as Stephen Brogan explains.

In the precarious years that followed the Restoration of Charles II, the senior clergy of the Church of England navigated the country’s shifting politics at their peril. But high principles still had their place, as John Jolliffe explains.

In his career as rake and satirist, writes John Redwood, Rochester illustrated both the vices and virtues of the Restoration court.

Clarendon’s great ‘History’ was composed largely in exile and published after his death. Hugh Trevor-Roper discusses how the historian had originally intended this great work to be private political advice to the King.

Nell Gwynn, by Peter Lely c. 1675

The preeminent Restoration actress and infamous Royal mistress died in 1687 at the age of 37. Jane Hoare describes how Charles II had left her well provided.

Henry Ireton

Howard Shaw introduces Henry Ireton, Cromwell's son-in-law, a regicide, and a man with principles and temper of a Cassius, who “stuck at nothing.”

Meyrick Carre introduces James Howell; an enquiring disciple of the new astronomers who enlivened the British seventeenth-century scene, and ended his life as historiographer-royal to Charles II.

J.P. Kenyon describes how the Exclusion movement of 1679-81 revealed a widespread frustration among the Parliamentary classes, their distrust of Charles II, and their hatred of Popery. You can find the first part of this article here.