Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Merry Monarch

The royal corpse was hauled back inside Whitehall & do you know Cromwell told peeps to sew Charles's head back ON?

Cromwell Before the Coffin of Charles I

Then the regicides (tis whatcha properly call king-killers) waited until all the peeps had gone home & it got dark b4 trundling Charles onto a barge & poling down the Thames to Windsor, where he was dragged into St George's Chapel & tossed under the floor w/ Henry & Jane!

For about 5 min they debated crowning little Henry, Duke of Gloucester, as the new King of England, even tho he had 2 older bros, just b/c he was handy.

Henry, Duke of Gloucester

Nice regency & all that, since the kid was all of 8, goodies to be had for all. Then they hmmm'd & said yknow there'd be MORE goodies if there weren't any pesky royals to support.....yeah that's the ticket! We don't need no steenking Stuarts no more! So Oliver Cromwell was elected Lord Protector & Parliament decided there was gonna be no more kings, ever.

This is known as the Interregnum (Latin for ooops there was a slight interruption in the cavalcade of royals).

Suffice to say that after a while peeps was remembering kings quite fondly (the Anglican Church even made St Charles the Martyr out of the last one) b/c tain't much fun to be ruled by a passel of religious fanatics. Them Puritans were no fun at all. Do you know they even outlawed CHRISTMAS? Not to mention good times like music, dancing, parties, gambling, dicing, horse-racing, the theater, houses of ill-repute, football, all the interesting stuff there was to do sans TV & internet, pretty much. Peeps got fined & put in the stocks if they missed church on Sundays or did any work on Sundays at all. Sunday dinner wasn't what it used to be b/c it had to be Saturday's leftovers b/c cooking was considered work. There was an inordinate amt of praying to be done & no one could dress up in bright colors & fine fabrics anymore. Merrie olde England wasn't.

in the stocks

Things got mighty dull, except over in Ireland where there was a massacre at Drogheda by Cromwellian troops. They went into all the churches & whitewashed over the murals & busted out the stained glass windows & melted down all the fancy gold stuff so that there wasn't even anything to look at when you were sitting there 1/2 the day on Sundays bored. In fact, in one church where all the Anglo-Saxon kings were buried, they busted open the crypts & used the bones for breaking the windows, so those royal peeps are now all mixed up b/c no one knows which bones go where.  Like, what did Ethelred the Unready ever do to them, huh?

They done that in a lot of churches (who knew 1,000 yr old bones were still sturdy enough to break glass?). Is it any wonder Jemmy'd kicked out the Pilgrims when this whole Puritan thing started? Who wants a religion that don't allow ya to have culture & nice things & dead kings properly arranged in their own tombs instead of being all jumbled together?

Just to be contrary, the Scots decided to declare Charles & HMs eldest kid Charles as King of Scots LOL

Charles II, King of Scots
he's got John of Gaunt's bedroom eyes LOL

He scamped over there from The Hague to get crowned at Scone posthaste. The Scots suited up & high-stepped over the wall to kick Parliamentarian behind & restore the new king in England, too. Only they were trounced at the battle of Worcester. This is where the legend of Charles hiding in the Royal Oak to avoid capture comes from. He had to scurry back to the continent b/c he rather liked his own head exactly where it sat.

He was only 21, but he'd already been making eyes at lotsa chicks & the 1st of his numerous bastards, James Scott, later Duke of Monmouth, was 2 yrs old. Jamie's mum, Lucy Walter, was supposed to be a loose chick & even tho Charles acknowledged paternity, twas joked that the kid couldn't possibly be his b/c Jamie was far too good-looking LOL

Lucy Walter w/ portrait
of son James

Charles was quite tall & buff, but he was universally considered ugly as sin. Despite that, he was said to have the kinda charm chicks dug & he continued to have lots of GFs & bastards. So did his bro James, who was said to have gotten the looks in the family. Ya think maybe twas all that long hair on the guys in those days? Got news for ya....wigs. They were mostly all shaved bald or buzzed under em. Imagine the lice infestation if they weren't. Now picture Charles w/ his little moustache bald as a billiard ball. Not attractive LOL In Elizabeth's day all the chicks wore wigs & now it was the guys' turn. See, fashion trends ain't new.

Charles spent the next 9 yrs in exile whilst those pocky Parliamentarians ran amuck.

Despite HM being a Frenchie & Princess Mary having wed William of Orange b4 all this Civil War stuff started, Charles couldn't get anyone to pony up enough groats to outfit a nice invasion force & oust the Parliamentarians. Their rellies were irked enough at the expense of maintaining the exiles' households. Then little Henry was shoved across the Channel to be one more mouth to feed.

Mary & William II of Orange

7 yrs after Worcester, Oliver Cromwell had the demises & Parliament decided to put his son Richard in Daddy's place. Which was kinda silly, if ya think about it, b/c wasn't this just as bad as hereditary monarchy? Charles was disappointed that peeps didn't invite him back over after the elder Cromwell's death. So were the rellies off whom he was sponging. They all sighed & slumped back in their seats as the Interregnum continued.

Charles was amusing himself w/ a rellie of Buckingham's, Barbara Villiers, Lady Palmer, who was a member of the underground Royalist network in England & popped over to deliver some seecrud msgs.

Barbara Villiers, Lady Palmer

Tho her eldest daughter Anne went by DH Roger Palmer's name & eventually inherited his goodies, she was acknowledged to be another bastard for Charles. The bros Stuart had to just be amused w/ chicks b/c wasn't nobody gonna marry em since they were penniless spongers, ysee.  Royal blood counts for naught sans a fistful of credit cards.

Richie Cromwell proved not to be as ironfisted a ruler as Daddy so peeps began to hmmm. There's the prob w/ primogeniture, sometimes ya get saddled w/ an inbred idiot ROFL Everyone was mighty sick of no longer being merrie & started thinking Parliament had been a little hasty in slicing off old Charles's head. Richie quickly abdicated his position & there was chaos & anarchy w/ no one running the joint whatsoever. So the Govermor of Scotland, General George Monck, brought a passel of blue peeps over the wall to restore order & finally got that Long Parliament dissolved after 20 yrs. New parliamentary elections were held & lots of Royalists got into what was called the Convention Parliament. 1st order of bidness was OK who's gonna be in charge.

They said meh this whole Protectorate thing ain't working out so well, we might as well have the royals back. Lots of em were doing this sneaky way of drinking to Charles's health anyway; they would silently pass their wine glass across a finger bowl at table b/c that was code for "to the health of the king across the water". Clever, huh?

So they voted to invite Charles to come on over & be restored to the thrones of England, Scotland, & Ireland. There was YIPPEE all around as the Stuarts gussied up for the trip. Charles & rellies & pals arrived in London on his 30th BD, May 29, 1660.

Charles II entering London

Nice pressie! This is known as (duh) The Restoration (the period in which one of Scarlet's fav books, Forever Amber, is set).

Charles IIs coronation portrait

He wasn't coronated until the following April b/c there was important stuff to be done 1st. In exchange for a few concessions to Parliament regarding those medieval statutes his father revived to get more groats, Charles had 9 of the peeps involved in Daddy's execution executed, plus he had Cromwell & a cpl other peeps dug up to lose their dead heads, too. Fun times.

That whole Parliament & executions thing didn't take a whole yr, tho. There were some other reasons why the coronation kept getting postponed. Tho twas a grand yr for the House of Stuart w/ the Restoration, alas, it turned out not to be a very good yr for em in the end.

In Sept, after barely 3 mos back home, Henry came down w/ smallpox & had the demises posthaste at Whitehall. He was just 20. In yrs to come peeps would lament his untimely death when they were having yet more royals issues b/c Henry was a firm Protestant after all those yrs as a captive of the pocky Puritans & even argued religion w/ Mum after he was released (HM still Catholic).

Then Christmas was a real bummer b/c on Christmas Eve Mary of Orange, aged 29, demised of the same thing, also at Whitehall. Guess they didn't clean up the germs from Henry's illness properly. Since her DH had demised (of the same thing!) just a cpl days b4 the birth of their only child, her 10 yo son William of Orange got to have a nice regency.

So Charles got his set of crowns, but coming back to England for em kilt 2 of his 4 remaining sibs. It slightly lessened the crush in Westminister Abbey for the coronation. Charles was for some reason the last king who made the traditional progress from the Tower to Westminister to be crowned.

He had to give out some goodies to his peeps. Barbara's DH was created Earl of Castlemaine. This was an Irish title & twas bestowed on Roger b/c everyone knew Charles just wanted to elevate his GF to the peerage & Parliament refused to approve settling on English title on him. So Barbara had to be content w/ what she got & she queened it round the court as my Lady Castlemaine for yonks, already expecting her 2nd kid w/ Charles.

His BFF John Wilmot got his title of Earl of Rochester restored

John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

& there was lots of tiresome squabbling over Royalist estates that had been confiscated by Parliamentarians that those who'd run off in exile w/ Charles wanted back. And what are goodies if ya got no fun? So all that borrrring Puritan stuff was repealed & peeps had something to do besides pray & they could dress snappy again & go out to the theatre.

And there was lots of tittle-tattle printed in the Stuart Scandler, too, b/c wouldja believe there was another seecrud wedding? Charles's Lord Chancellor was a peep called Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, & his daughter Anne was seduced by bro James & ooops there was breeding, so they got hitched on the sly.

Anne Hyde, Duchess of York

Charles was vastly amused w/ this when James 'fessed up so there were no Tower Fun Passes written out. Meh it saved the expense of all that negotiating for foreign brides & a huge wedding.

There was seriously sumfin wrong w/ James's little swimmers b/c he got chicks pregnant left & right but there were copious amts of miscarriages, stillbirths, & demised in infancy. Out of the 11dy6 kidlets he sired upon Anne Hyde, only 2, Mary & Anne, would live to grow up, & his track record was just as bad w/ DW#2 later on.  Tis rumored he had the Frenchie pox, which can do such.

James, Duke of York
OK Rupert can carry off the faux Roman thing
.....cuz James, not so much LOL

Since Charles was already in his 30s there was no time to waste in getting him hitched, either. He settled upon a princess from Portugal called Catherine of Braganza b/c she had a humungous dowry that incl the prosperous ports of Bombay (this is how England started getting into India) & Tangiers.

Catherine of Braganza, Charles IIs queen

The treasury was pretty low so he had to get value for the bride. Catherine is credited w/ introducing tea into England, which peeps sucked down like there was no tomorrow. Peeps muttered b/c she was Catholic, but the public wedding was Anglican. However, Charles covered all his bases & had a seecrud one done in Catholic as well. Peeps figured there'd be 11dy6 heirs in no time, given how fast Castlemaine was popping em out (her son Charles was born same yr).

Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine,
posing as Madonna & Child w/ son
Charles Fitzroy

Even in Portugal they'd heard of the notorious Castlemaine, so Catherine was appalled to see her name on the list of her new English ladies-in-waiting. She picked up a quill, dipped it in ink, scratched it out, & said um NO.

Barbara threw a fit so Charles sighed & asked Catherine could she just let her stay on the list & then Catherine threw a fit so Charles sighed some more & asked Barbara if maybe she could be reasonable b/c twas tacky to shove one's GF under one's wife's nose like that & Barbara threw a bigger tantrum & threatened to dump him so Charles groaned & went back to Catherine & said SHE STAYS & THAT'S THE END OF IT!

Charles losing a fight w/ Barbara LOL

Castlemaine was all HA HA I WON & promptly got pregnant again. The 23 yo queen alas did not.

Charles must've had the stamina of a bull b/c in addition to wife & official GF, he often had peeps collect chicks he liked the look of & sneak em up the backstairs at Whitehall to come play w/ him. He & James set up rival theatres & had their pick of the actresses. This is when chicks were finally allowed to go on the stage instead of having girl parts played by dudes in drag. One called Moll Davis became a 2nd official GF of the king's for a while & she had a daughter by him who was inexplicably named Lady Mary Tudor.

Moll Davis

Then there was a 3rd official GF who was also an actress, Nell Gwyn.

Nell Gwyn

Nell was a great comedian as well as a comedic actress, & tis said she snuck a laxative into Moll's drink on an evening she knew Moll was supposed to go see the king HA HA Charles had 2 sons by Nell, Charles & James Beauclerk.

Nell Gwyn's sons w/ Charles,
Charles & James Beauclerk;
how cute are they?

Beauclerk was a pun b/c Stuart used to be Stewart used to be High Steward of Scotland & steward in French is beauclerc so there ya go. Poor little Jimmy died all alone at school in Paris aged 9 from a "pain in his leg", who knows what that was, but Charlie grew up & was a prolific breeder himself.

Charles Beauclerk, Earl of Burford & Duke of St Albans

There's fun tales about how Charlie Beauclerk got his title.

Nelly was irked b/c Castlemaine's brats got nice titles & her kids didn't. The one story says she hung Charlie by his ankles off a balcony & threatened to drop him on his head if Charles didn't pony up a title. Charles cried, "God save the Earl of Burford!" in response & had the patent drawn up right quick.

The other story about it is that there was a party at Nell's w/ lots of Charles's peeps attending & she called her eldest over by yelling, "Charlie, you little bastard, come say hello to your father!" Charles frowned & said twasn't nice for her to be calling the kid a bad word esp in public. Nelly shrugged & said, "Well, he has no other title by which I may call him, does he?" Later on the kid also got to be the Duke of St Albans.

Louise de Kerouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth

Then there was this Frenchie chick, Louise de Kerouaille, who came over in Charles's sister Minette's train when she came for a visit, & stuck around to be another official GF. She got to be the Duchess of Portsmouth & Castlemaine howled so then she got to be the Duchess of Cleveland, but then Charles retired her after 5 kids.

Nell Gwyn

Nelly called Louise "Squintabella" LOL I reckon she needed glasses. Peeps weren't fussed w/ Louise b/c she was Catholic. Once Nelly was out in her carriage (which now were invented) & peeps thunk twas Louise's & started hurling rocks & insults, so Nell stuck her head out the window & said, "Good ppl, you are mistaken, I am the Protestant whore!" So they cheered & let her pass b/c they liked her the bestest of all Charles's GFs b/c she came from common peeps.

Twas said Charles liked her the bestest, too, b/c she was just so darn funny. Charles ended up w/ a grand total of 12 illegits & has lotsa descendents, incl Diana, Fergie, & Camilla! So Wills could be the 1st descendent of Charles II to sit on the throne some day.

Then there was a chick who, like Anne Boleyn, was famous for telling a king um NO.  This was Frances Stewart, who later became the Duchess of Richmond & Lennox w/ her marriage to Esme Stewart's grandson, Charles.  Yes, both her married & maiden names were the same LOL, but the papacy made naught off any dispensation for it.  Her dad was a distant cuz of the royals & had been HMs personal physician.  Charles the king pursued her for yonks & all the other mistresses were united in their hatred of Frances.  Barbara was mighty irked b/c Charles was about to mint a medal for his Dutch wars & he wanted an image of Britannia on em & natch she thunk she'd be the perfect model, but he selected Frances instead.  If ya got any old Brit coins rolling round, Frances's Britannia head was used on em till the 1970s!

Frances Stewart, Duchess of Richmond & Lennox

In fact, she had to get hitched b/c Barbara caught her in bed w/ Richmond & tattled triumphantly to Charles that whilst Frances was saying NO to him, she was all over that duke ROFL  Alas Frances came down w/ a wretched case of the smallpox & was disfigured like Mary Sidney had been, all wreathed in veils so no one could see it, & when her DH demised young she never remarried, tho apparently Charles was still nice to her & rumor had it she may have reconsidered that NO once no other peeps could look at her face anymore.

Alas the queen tried to keep up w/ the mistresses in breeding little Stuarts, but all she could manage was a pair of miscarriages.....

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