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On this date in history: May 29, 1630. The birth of Charles II, King of England, Scotland and Ireland. On this date in history, May 29, 1660 the restoration of Charles II.


The future Charles II was born at St James’s Palace on May 29, 1630. His parents were Charles I, King of England, Scotland and Ireland) and Henrietta Maria de Bourbon of France, the youngest daughter of Henri IV, King of France and Navarre and Marie de’ Medici. This made Henrietta Maria the sister of the French king Louis XIII and aunt of Louis XIV. Charles was their second child. Their first son was Charles James, Duke of Cornwall born and died on March 13, 1629.

Charles was baptized in the Chapel Royal, on June 27, 1630 by the Anglican Bishop of London, William Laud. The three kingdoms were experiencing great religious diversity at this time. England was predominantly Anglican, while Scotland was staunchly Presbyterian and Ireland was dominantly Catholic. He was brought up in the care of the Protestant Countess of Dorset, though his godparents included his maternal uncle Louis XIII and his maternal grandmother, Marie de’ Medici, the Dowager Queen of France, both of whom were Catholics. With his mother being Catholic this would heavily influence Charles throughout his life.

Upon his birth Charles automatically became inherited the titles Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay. When he became eight he was designated Prince of Wales, though he was never formally invested. Despite never being formally vested with that title he was officially referred to as the Prince of Wales and is counted as one of the 21 heirs to the throne that borne that prestigious title.

At the end of the Second English Civil (1648–1649) his father, Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on January 30, 1649. Shortly thereafter the monarchy was officially abolished in England. Charles was publicly proclaimed King Charles II of Scotland on February 5, 1649 in Edinburgh. On the Isle of Jersey on February 17, 1649 in the Royal Square in St. Helier the former Prince of Wales was proclaimed King. Despite the Parliament of Scotland proclaiming Charles II king, England entered the period known as the English Interregnum or the English Commonwealth, and the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell.

The new king was still willing to fight for his crown. The Parliamentary Army proved to be the greater force and Cromwell defeated Charles II at the Battle of Worcester on September 3, 1651, and Charles fled to mainland Europe. Cromwell became virtual dictator of England, Scotland and Ireland. Charles spent the next nine years in exile in France, the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands. Life was difficult for the king-in-name-only as finances were slim and he relied on the good graces of others.

A political crisis followed the death of Cromwell in 1658. Cromwell’s son, Richard, ruled as Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland. Richard’s regime soon collapsed and as the three kingdoms teetered on the brink of anarchy, General George Monck, Governor of Scotland under the Cromwells, believed the only one that could restore order was the King. Monck marched south with his army from Scotland and communications with Charles began.

On April 4, 1660, Charles II released the Declaration of Breda, which made known the conditions of his acceptance of the Crown of England, Scotland and Ireland. Monck organised the Convention Parliament, which met for the first time on April 25, 1660. On May 8, 1660, the Convention Parliament declared that King Charles II had reigned as the lawful monarch since the execution of Charles I in January 1649. Charles returned from exile on May 23, 1660. On May 29, 1660, the populace in London acclaimed him as king. It was his 30th Birthday. A new era had begun.