Charles II’s Secretaries of State

D.G.C. Allan introduces the eleven Secretaries of State employed by Charles II, who reflect in the variety of their personalities, the social brilliance and the shifting policies of the Restoration Age.

Before the modern ministerial system had developed, the offices of government, though generally bestowed as financial prizes and regarded as social assets, depended for their political power and influence largely upon the personalities of their occupants. In Tudor and Stuart times the man made the office rather than the office the man.

Wolsey and Clarendon were Lord Chancellors, Buckingham was Lord High Admiral, Strafford was Lord Deputy in Ireland and Archbishop Laud was simply a Privy Councillor. Danby became Lord Treasurer as did the two Cecils, who first ruled as Secretaries of State. Both Thomas Cromwell and Walsingham were Secretaries of State.

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