25th May 1660. Return of ‘Old Rowley’.
Andrew Marvell was to write how Cromwell’s ambition would, ‘ruin the great work of time’.
Parliament and the Army under General Monck (Duke of Albemarle), decided after Oliver Cromwell’s death in September 1658 and the appointment of his son Richard as Protector, that the time was ready for the restoration of Charles II.
It was a move prompted by the incompetence of ‘Tumbledown Dick’ as Richard was called. (1)
So it was Today in 1660 that Charles II arrived at Dover on HMS Royal Charles, previously the Naseby which had celebrated Cromwell’s defeat of the Royalists in 1645.(2)
Captained by Sir Edward Montagu, the ship also carried Samuel Pepys as Secretary to the Navy.
The King’s return reflected the widespread feeling that the old customs should be returned, despite much opposition and discontent from the large standing army.
Charles II had been in exile on the Continent, after Oxford had capitulated in June 1646 and where he had resided with his father after fleeing from London, after the notorious failure of Charles I to arrest the Five Members of Parliament.(3)
However the eventual return of Charles II in 1660, had been delayed by the defeat of his supporting British Royalists and Spanish Army, at the Battle of the Dunes (or Dunkirk), on June 14th 1658, by Cromwell’s Commonwealth Army, supported by Louis XIV.
The resulting fall of Dunkirk, then part of the Spanish Netherlands, on June 24th 1658, then saw Mazarin honouring the terms of the Treaty of the Pyrenees, by handing the port to Cromwell’s army. Monck thus refused Charles’ entry to Dunkirk.
However, all to no avail as Dunkirk was later sold on 27th October 1662 by Charles II back to Louis XIV, after Lockhart was deprived of his governorship: thus the end of our last possession in France.
(1) Oliver Cromwell died 3rd September 1658. According to John Thurloe, Oliver suggested orally on the 30th August that Richard be appointed to be his successor.
Monck’s wife had been a laundress, known as Dirty Bess.
Charles II was nicknamed Bonny Black Boy, Royal Wanderer and Old Rowley.
(2) The Naseby ordered on 3rd July 1654 was launched on 12th April 1655 and renamed on the 23rd May 1660.
At 1229 tons and classed as a 80 gun First Rate, it was built by Peter Pitt at Woolwich for the Commonwealth of England. It was larger than the Sovereign of the Seas the first Three-Deck Ship of the Line’, built by Phineas Pett.
(3) Charles crossed from Scotland in August 1651 to battle against Cromwell, but after his defeat at Worcester on the 3rd September he escaped back to the Continent after hiding in the legendary Boscobal Oak on 6th September 1651.
Ref: wikipedia.org/royal_charles/Pic Image.