On This Day

Charles II

King of England Charles II

Profession: King of England

United Kingdom

Biography: Charles was the King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1660 until his death in 1685, and had been King of Scotland from 1649 until he was deposed in 1651. His father, Charles I, was executed at the height of the English Civil War in 1649, after which the younger Charles fled to Europe.

A crisis that followed Oliver Cromwell's death in 1658 - after he had established a dictatorial republic in England - allowed Charles to make his comeback after the monarchy was restored in 1660.

His time in power saw a number of foreign policy crises and religious crises. He signed an alliance with Louis XIV of France in 1670 after promising to convert to Roman Catholicism at a future date; Louis aided him in his war with the Dutch. He had numerous conflicts with Parliament, particularly when it was discovered his cousin, James, the Duke of York, was a Catholic and when Charles himself attempted to introduce religious freedom but was struck down by his MPs.

He abolished Parliament in 1681 and ruled alone until his death in 1685. He converted to Catholicism on his deathbed.

Born: May 29, 1630
Birthplace: London, England
Star Sign: Gemini

Died: February 6, 1685 (aged 54)
Cause of Death: Apoplectic fit

Articles and Photos

Married Life

  • 1661-05-25 English King Charles II marries Portuguese princess Catherina of Braganca

Historical Events

  • 1649-02-05 Prince of Wales proclaimed King Charles II of Great Britain by Covenanter Parliament of Scotland
  • 1651-01-01 Charles II Stuart crowned king of Scotland
  • 1651-09-06 King Charles II of England spends a day hiding in an oak tree during his escape after losing the Battle of Worcester
  • 1651-10-17 Future King Charles II flees from England
  • 1658-03-17 Pro-Charles II plot in England discovered
  • 1660-04-04 English King Charles II sends Declaration of Breda (freedom of religion)
  • 1660-04-25 English Convention Parliament meets and votes to restore Charles II
  • 1660-05-08 English parliament declares Charles Stuart to be King Charles II of England
  • 1660-05-23 King Charles II returns from exile sails from Scheveningen to England
  • 1660-05-24 English king Charles II visits Netherlands
  • 1660-05-25 King Charles II of England lands at Dover harbour
  • 1660-05-29 On his 30th birthday Charles II returns to London from exile in the Netherlands to claim the English throne after the Puritan Commonwealth comes to an end
  • 1661-04-23 English king Charles II crowned in London
  • 1661-06-23 Marriage contract for Charles II of England and Catharina of Portugal
  • 1661-07-03 Portugal gives Tangier and Bombay to English King Charles II
  • 1661-10-01 Yachting begins in England as King Charles II beats his brother James, Duke of York in a yacht race from Greenwich to Gravesend
  • 1662-07-15 King Charles II charters Royal Society in London
  • 1662-10-17 Charles II of Great Britain sells Dunkirk to France for 2.5 million livres (320,000 English pounds)
  • 1663-01-10 King Charles II affirms charter of Royal African Company
  • 1663-04-06 King Charles II signs Carolina Charter
  • 1663-07-08 King Charles II of England grants a charter to Rhode Island
  • 1665-03-04 English King Charles II declares war on Netherlands
  • 1668-03-27 English king Charles II gives Bombay to East India Company
  • 1668-04-13 John Dryden (36) appointed first English poet laureate by Charles II
  • 1670-05-02 King Charles II gives royal charter to the Hudson's Bay Company
  • 1670-06-01 English King Charles II & French King Louis XIV sign secret anti-Dutch treaty
  • 1671-04-22 King Charles II sits in on English parliament
  • 1672-03-15 King Charles II enacts Declaration of Indulgence
  • 1673-03-29 English King Charles II accepts Test Act: Roman Catholics excluded from public functions
  • 1673-06-12 Charles II's brother duke James of York resigns as Lord High Admiral
  • 1673-11-09 English King Charles II dismisses Earl of Shaftesbury
  • 1675-06-22 Royal Greenwich Observatory established in England by Charles II
  • 1675-08-10 King Charles II and John Flamsteed lay the foundation stone of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London
  • 1675-11-22 English king Charles II adjourns Parliament
  • 1677-02-15 King Charles II reports anti-French covenant with Netherlands
  • 1679-01-24 King Charles II disbands English parliament
  • 1679-07-12 Britain's King Charles II ratifies Habeas Corpus Act allowing prisoners right to be imprisoned to be examined by a court
  • 1681-03-04 English Quaker William Penn receives charter from Charles II, making him sole proprietor of colonial American territory Pennsylvania
  • 1682-12-02 Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury flees to Amsterdam following the failure of his plots to prevent a Catholic succession should King Charles II die
  • 1683-06-12 Rye House plot against English King Charles II uncovered
  • 1684-06-21 King Charles II revokes Massachusetts Bay Colony charter

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