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Charles II

Charles II, 1630-1685, King of England from 1660 until his death.

After the decade-long Interregnum, Charles II, oldest surviving son of the executed Charles I, was recalled from France to take the British throne. His reign was troubled: in spite of an overwhelmingly Royalist Parliament, his pro-French and pro-Catholic sentiments angered many of his subjects. In fact he entered into a secret treaty with France in 1670, the Treaty of Dover, in which he promised to convert England to Catholicism, and declared his Catholicism on his deathbead.

Although he was never a popular monarch, he was munificent, creating a vibrant court culture in London and chartering a number of influential societies. In 1662 he granted a royal charter to one of the most important, the Royal Society.