Charles II: the people’s prince

Jenny Uglow considers how Charles II used charm, spin and some good old-fashioned pomp and circumstance to woo the nation after the Restoration

A portrait of Charles II wearing the robes of the Order of the Garter. (Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

This article was first published in the April 2010 issue of BBC History Magazine 

Three hundred and fifty years ago, in the spring of 1660, the 29-year-old Charles II and his court were virtually in rags with – wrote Samuel Pepys – not a coat among them worth more than 40 shillings. All this was soon to change. On 4 April 1660, Charles was in Breda in Holland, at the court of his sister Mary, the widow of William II of Orange. From here he issued the Declaration of Breda, a document that the parliament at Westminster would seize upon as offering the terms for his return.

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