King Charles II

After spending his early years in exile, Charles II returned to the English throne in 1651. He enjoyed a public spectacle, determined to win over his public and secure his position.

He founded the Royal Observatory, saw the Great Fire of London in 1666 and married Catherine of Braganza.


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Ahead of Valentine's Day we're sharing one very special document on loan from Portsmouth Cathedral. John Bolt tells us more. 


Clare Jackson (The Stuarts, BBC 2) discusses one of Engalnd's most famous monarchs - King Charles II. 


Find out more about how the Royal Observatory was founded, and its fascinating role in British history.

Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution (tile)

After 11 years of Republican rule the monarchy was restored in May 1660.

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The Great Fire of London burned day and night for almost four days in 1666 until only a tiny fraction of the City remained. It came hot on the heels of the Great Plague and left the world's third largest city of the time a shadow of its former self. Was this God's judgment on wicked King Charles II?


He was certainly mercurial and brilliant, and quite possibly lustful and in the grip of dark and foreign powers. King Charles II was however, one of the nation’s most interesting and beguiling rulers.