When Charles I Was Beheaded, Charles II Escaped To Europe Where He Lived A Life Of Incredible Poverty, Bedded A Wide Variety Of Women And Sparred With His Mother Before He Returned To England To Restore The MonarchyThis Is A Brilliant Biography Of Charles II, One Of England S Most Glamorous Kings Coote Introduces The Reader To The Drama And Danger Of An England Torn By Civil War, Ruled Over By A Villainous Cromwell And Populated With The Lustful, Rapacious And Streetwise Women Charles Bedded On The Road To His Restored Throne Lady Castlemaine Lady Porstmouth, Nell Gwyn And Hortense Mancini, Among Others Stephen Coote s biography on Charles II is an enjoyable story of a man who the author has titled Royal Survivor This book, which is just under 400 pages hardback format , takes the reader on a trip with Charles II, through his trials and tribulations, his victories and his defeats We follow Charles II from boyhood, the death of his father and his attempt to re claim the throne which met its end at the Battle of Worcester Then the author takes us along with Charles II as he makes an exciting escape from England back into exile and then his triumphant return to the Throne of England.We then settle into an account of Charles II as the King of England, his conflicts with Parliament and the tales of his many mistresses We follow the story through the period of the Restoration and other great events that occurred during his reign After finishing this book I really believed that I had gained a better understanding of the subject and the times In fact I came away from feeling that the King wasn t all that bad and maybe he did try to do his best for England within a certain framework.Not only did the book offer an account of Charles II and his private life but we are also provided with accounts of his struggle with the Dutch provinces, France and its King, along with the plague and the Great Fire of London I would not consider the book to be an in depth biography but of a narrative history offering the reader a general overview of the subject That said, I still found the story interesting and learnt quite a few things along the way.I believe that anyone who enjoys good history without too many dates and names will be quite taken with this account of Charles II The book provides the reader with a free flowing narrative, holding your interest throughout the whole story The book is well presented and has a number of black and white photographs of the period Overall this is an excellent story and well worth the time to read. , Royal Survivor is great book written about an interesting person with a fascinating life Born to the ultimate form of privilege Charles was the eldest son of the King As and heir to the throne of the King of England, Charles spent his boyhood as the Prince of Wales leading a life a wealth and luxury However as he grew to greater awareness, he observed the country go through the greatest upheaval in its history The English Civil War was turning the world on its head His father, King Charles I would be dethroned, tried, and executed He would spend his young adulthood wandering around Europe, homeless, hoping other charitable monarchs to take him in and feed him Then he is suddenly restored to his rightful place to begin a very memorable reign.Charles II is most famous for being the Merry Monarch I however found the most interesting parts of the book to be his time in exile It was not easy for a prince born the heir to the throne believing he was rightful king in a monarchy that had now been abolished, having to now live in state of poverty For Charles it must have been as if the whole world had turned upside down Poor, homeless, and impoverished the man who considered himself to be a king was hardly living the life, being tossed back and forth between France, Holland, and Spain His previous attempts to win back his crown had ended in disaster However with the self destruction of the Protectorate government of England a few years following the death of Oliver Cromwell, he was then presented with the opportunity of a lifetime Parliament invited him back to rule, and Charles was restored in a change of government that almost bloodless Only the regicides perished when King Charles II was actually able to rule his kingdom It was an amazing feat that he played well, but it was a victory that he did not earn There was also a subtle reasons for irony It was surely evident to Charles how small a part he had played in his own restoration On the occasions when he had exerted himself and tried to regain his crown, the result had always been bloodshed, defeat and death Now he had been bloodlessly willed into power by his own people, his single contribution having been the adroitness with which he had been able to present himself as the only credible alternative to the repeated failures of the Interregnum regimes Charles had been restored not because of who he was but of what he was his country s legitimate monarch p.180The reign of King Charles II was what the previous puritan regime was not scandalous The people, who lived under the tyranny of Oliver Cromwell s major generals, were most likely grateful to live under a monarch who paraded his mistresses around with pride However his reign was than just about sex, during his kingship England saw great progress in the areas of science And unlike his personnel restoration, which he played no great role in, he directly contributed to the scientific progress that defined his era Charles grandfather, King James I, ruled a nation that took the idea of witches seriously King James wrote a book about witches complete with flying broomsticks, and he seriously believed that it was a witch s curse that gave him an overly large tongue The England of King Charles II brought to the Western World Newtonian physics The Royal Society was incorporated under a charter granted by Charles on 15 July 1662, and his genuine interest in scientific matters led to research and debate becoming fashionable among the nobility and gentry Charles employed one of his gentlemen ushers to convey his enquiries to the Society and probed the members as to why sensitive plants flinched and contracted when touched, and why ants eggs were sometimes bigger than the ants themselves He arranged for a laboratory to be built in his palace at Whitehall where experiments could be conducted before him or he could investigate problems for himself He took a keen interest in inventions that the society patented, presented it with curiosities, and throughout his life provided members with the venison traditionally eaten at the anniversary dinner What Charles was encouraging in such ways was a profound change in the manner in which the elite looked at the world.The regular publication of research was a crucial part of the Society s early achievement and, if the initial hopes of its founders were nor immediately realized, the record of its success is remarkable indeed The group of scholars and gentlemen amateurs incorporated by Charles included Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle and above all Sir Isaac Newton Though the discoveries of these men especially, it became possible to view the universe as acting in all places and at all times according to consistent and verifiable rules or natural laws p.258 9Throughout his life and reign King Charles II was a brilliant politician in ways his father could have only dreamed of being Despite his humble method in restoration he would emerge as a very powerful king He has a troubling legacy in terms of succession It is still unclear to me why he did not try to legitimize the Duke of Monmouth King Henry VIII was desperate for an heir and often considered making his illegitimate son that person Had Henry Fitzroy, the Duke of Richmond lived as long as his father he mostly likely would have been king Even if Henry VIII held off to the birth of his legitimate son, Edward VI, Richmond still would have been in line in the same manner that his sisters, Mary I and Elizabeth I, were Yet, Charles, even though Coote writes that the he considered his lawful heir, the Duke of York, to be a moron, he did not chose to support his son Ultimately, he Duke of Monmouth suffered the same fate as his royal grandfather only it was gruesome Nevertheless the Exclusion crisis, which tried to prevent his brother from coming to the throne, allowed Charles to triumph over his political adversaries and emerge supreme He had emerged from the Exclusion Crisis as an unfettered sovereign, and as such he would remain He distanced himself from his Tory supporters, refusing them the privileges they might legitimately have expected Indeed, Charles was determined to lower the levels of political consciousness and excitement in the country as a whole, and to reduce the influence of party activity especially P.344Royal Survivor is great book The life of King Charles II is one incredible adventure and Coote creates a great narrative to explain it I would recommend this book to the historian and non historian alike. This is a clearly written and engaging biography As a vantage point from which to see seventeenth century English history it is obviously excellent, though one will learn nothing about Newton or the Royal Society from this book For myself, I wished that I had a better knowledge of other perspectives to fill out what I was reading Specifically, the fact that so much of Charles maneuvering involved Louis XIV, it would be helpful to know about French history of the period Clearly this was not Coote s responsibility and, for me, it has provided post reading opportunities to read other things.There seem to be a lot of biographies of Charles II I can t compare All I can say is that I thought this was one worth reading. This is my all time favorite telling of the story of the life of King Charles II, who is my all time favorite British monarch His story is one of those proofs that real life is way complicated far fetched than anything an author of fiction could ever come up with Coote tells the story in a narrative style that makes it easily accessible reading, even to someone who s not as much of a history nerd as I am He captures the most famous passage of Charles life, his escape from England following the failure of the Battle of Worcester, in such a breathless, minute by minute way that the reader feels like they re watching it all happen He also manages to capture the horror of the early times of Charles life following the execution of his father, the decadence ennui of his court following the restoration, the world weary disillusionment that leads to his dismissal of Parliament towards the end of his rule The titillating bits are definitely here the parade of mistresses in all their glory, for instance but the ability to completely dissimulate the manipulation of the powerful around him that show Charles as substantial than just a promiscuous decadent king are present, too It s definitely a very well rounded portrait of a man an era that was a true turning point in English history By the end of the book, the reader can really see the beginnings of the emergence of modern Constitutional monarchy as it is in England. I don t know how I keep getting sucked into biographies about British Royalty They tend to be poorly written and of limited interest However, I flipped through this one and it looked pretty decent It s a quick summary of the life of Charles II of England It covers his life and times, including the exile years, from birth until he returns to recover his throne Unlike many British bio s, you don t need to be an expert in every arcane bit of titles and rankings or already know about every obscure bureaucrat in English history to follow what s going on All told, I was intrigued enough by this author to look into some of his other titles. Interesting read Charles mistresses added a spicy touch. I usually categorize my history books as heavy history and light history The former being books that provide in depth detail, such as Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and the latter being a book that provides an overview of the subject and moves along quickly This book is light history , as it tells the story of Charles II who was rushed into exile by his mother when his father, Charles I was executed and Cromwell took over the rule of the British isles Determined from childhood to return the Stuart dynasty to the throne, Charles practically lived in poverty until his chance came to regain the throne and he became Charles II, known as the Merry Monarch His court was noted for its licentiousness and Charles sired many children although he and his Queen had no offspring of their own The story moves along through his years on the throne from the Popish Plot to the Act of Exclusion providing general information about the years of Charles s reign It is not a particularly scholarly book but is an enjoyable read about a turbulent time. A readable and digestible biography of Charles but one which draws heavily on previous works.
Stephen Coote is the author of several acclaimed biographies including Royal Survivor The Life of Charles II, Samuel Pepys, and John Keats A Life He was educated at Magdelene College, Cambridge and at Birkbeck College, University of London He lives in Oxfordshire, England.
- 396 pages
- Royal Survivor: The Life of Charles II
- Stephen Coote
- 20 July 2018 Stephen Coote