The Restoration of Charles II

Many have seen the Restoration of the monarchy, which took place on 29 May 1660, as inevitable. Yet what is most surprising is its unexpectedness.

The execution of Charles I, was seen, at least by its perpetrators, as a 'necessary sacrifice'. Not all regicides were ideologically republican, nor did all republicans approve the king's demise. They were more concerned to root out the institution of monarchy than to dispose of its latest incumbent. Some regicides could envisage a replacement monarch - a compliant kinsman of Charles, say - rather than going about setting up a republic. But the circumstances of 1649 - the Rump beset by enemies at home and abroad, including a Prince of Wales, exiled, young, vigorous and likely to enlist foreign aid in coming back, even if it meant wading through blood - made both groups ready for a novel regime, a kingless Commonwealth.

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