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
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.