- Charles II the 'Merry Monarch' [Suggested Reading]
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Charles II
Suggested Reading

"You had better have one King than five hundred."

Charles II: The Last Rally
(Hilaire Belloc,)
Charles II: The Last Rally is a vivid portrayal of Charles II, as well as a historical investigation into the role of monarchy in pre-Revolution Europe. It looks closely at the role that the burgeoning financial powers played in shaping European politics and the effects of these powers on the English monarchy and on Europe generally. Belloc brings to his writing an intimate knowledge of the countries about which he is writing and a fervent belief in the Catholic faith and its role in the history of Europe.

History of King Charles II of England
(Jacob Abbott)
Our Prince Charles now becomes, by the death of his father, King Charles the Second, both of England and of Scotland. That is, he becomes so in theory, according to the principles of the English Constitution, though, in fact, he is a fugitive and an exile still. Notwithstanding his exclusion, however, from the exercise of what he considered his right to reign, he was acknowledged as king by all true Royalists in England, and by all the continental powers. They would not aid him to recover his throne, but in the courts and royal palaces which he visited he was regarded as a king, and was treated, in form at least, with all the consideration and honor which belonged to royalty

King Charles II
(Antonia Fraser)
Following a youth of poverty and bitter exile after his father's execution, the ousted king first challenged, then made his magnificent escape from, Cromwell's troops before he was eventually restored to his throne in triumph in 1660. Spanning his life both before and after the Restoration, Antonia Fraser's lively and fascinating biography captures all the vitality of the man and the expansiveness of the age. 'Detailed, sympathetic, and admirably readable.

Phoenix: The Image of the King: Charles I and Charles II
(Richard Ollard)
"Remarkably and immensely readable...A just yet compassionate study of two complex, muddled, fissured human beings caught in the most difficult of crafts--kingship...It should not be missed by anyone interested in the Stuarts or in the personalities of Charles I and Charles II: indeed, any reader will be greatly stimulated by it."--J.H. Plumb, New York Review of Books. Two kings, father and son...and yet, their personalities could hardly have differed more. Through sources as varied as masks, statues, poems, medals, and contemporary written records, a picture of these Stuart monarchs, their characters and their politics, emerges.

Royal Survivor: The Life of Charles II
(Stephen Coote)
The biographer of several prominent English literary figures (including Byron and Keats) turns his attention to a wily politician in this lively portrait of Charles II (1630-85). When he assumed the throne in 1660, Charles had already survived his father's 1649 execution during the English civil war and years of uneasy exile. His restoration had more to do with England's yearning for peace than any desire to reestablish the monarchy's ancient rights, in which Charles fervently believed, and Coote shows the king wielding personal authority and considerable guile to assert prerogatives that his parliament was determined to restrict. Baptized a Catholic on his deathbed, Charles never publicly declared his faith, knowing it would be unacceptable in Protestant England, nor did he let it interfere with his lighthearted affairs. Nonetheless, he was fond of his queen and refused to discard her when she failed to produce an heir. His political maneuvers ensured the peaceful succession of his brother James, who managed in a scant four years to provoke England's bloodless "Glorious Revolution" and the lasting abrogation of royal powers Charles had astutely maintained in trying times. Writing with vigor and color that suit his pleasure-loving subject, Coote limns a man of contradictions in an engaging work of popular biography.

The Life and Times of Charles II
(Christopher Falkus)


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