History explorer: The Restoration

Dr Ronald Hutton and Daniel Cossins visit Banqueting House in London to explore the overthrow of the British Commonwealth and Charles II's perilous path to the throne in 1660...

A portrait of Charles II, by 17th-century painter John Michael Wright

This article was first published in the December 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine

The road from Blackheath to London was lined with people. Tapestries hung from windows, trumpets parped and church bells peeled, and wine flowed freely. It was 29 May 1660. Charles II, turning 30 that day, rode at the front of a great procession heading for the political heart of the capital. He had come to reclaim the thrones of three kingdoms after more than a decade of republican government, and he was welcomed as a redeemer by a restless public that had seen the Commonwealth collapse from within.

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