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King Charles II

After spending his early years in exile, Charles II returned to the English throne in 1651.

The Restoration of the monarchy would prove to be one of the most lavish periods in the history of the British royal family, with Charles determined to win over his public and secure his position.

The king left his mark on Greenwich too: Charles II is responsible for the founding of the Royal Observatory.

Yet Charles's reign was also marked by major events beyond his control. During his time as king, London suffered both the Great Plague and Great Fire of London

Find out more about the life, death and legacy of Charles II.

Tudors to Windsors

Five dynasties, 500 years of British royal portraits: visit the National Maritime Museum's major new exhibition

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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?

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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.

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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. 

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