King Charles II

1630 - 1685

British monarch. Born in London. His father having been executed by the English in 1649, Charles II was proclaimed King in Scotland only. He landed at Speymouth on the 23rd June, 1650 and travelled south to Dundee, St. Andrews and Falkland. The reception of Charles by the Scots annoyed Cromwell's parliamentarian government in England and triggered an invasion of Scotland. Regardless, having accepted the National Covenant and the Presbyterian system, Charles was crowned as King of Scotland at Scone in 1651. Yet, following his defeat in the same year by Cromwell's army at Worcester, it was not until 1660 that he was restored as King of England. Meanwhile, General George Monk (1608 - 1670) completed the subjugation of Scotland for Cromwell.

Following his restoration, Charles had to work hard, particularly in terms of mending religious divisions which his father had created. However, by his death he had done more than any other to create the conditions necessary for the union of the parliaments of Scotland and England, which eventually came in 1707.

Charles married the Portuguese Princess Catherine of Braganza in 1662. The couple had no children, although Charles had fathered several illegitimate children by his many mistresses, the most celebrated of whom was James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth and Buccleuch (1649-85).

In his later life, Charles adopted pronounced pro-Catholic tendencies, upsetting Parliament which passed the Test Act in 1673. The Rye House Plot, supported by several Scottish Presbyterians, including Monmouth, attempted to overthrow him in 1683. It is said Charles declared himself a Roman Catholic on his death-bed.

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