King Charles IIBook - 1979
The story of King Charles II is one of enduring fascination. The golden childhood of the boy Prince in the Van Dyck pictures gave way to an adventurous youth in Civil War England and abroad, ending traumatically when his father was executed in 1649. Charles II, King at eighteen, succeeded to `nothing but the name'. After his valiant attempt to regain the throne was defeated by Cromwell at Worcester, the King made his epic escape - to years of exile, poverty and humiliation in Europe. The `miraculous' Restoration ushered in a reign coloured by a series of equally dramatic events: the Great Plague, the Fire of London, two Dutch Wars, the bizarre Popish Plot, and finally the efforts of the Whigs to exclude his Catholic brother James from the succession, culminating in the King's unexpected triumph over them at the Oxford Parliament of 1681.
A lover of women, passionate planner of parks and palaces and friend of the arts, this was the man who was to overcome the many problems of his reign and die not only in control of his country but in the affection of his countrymen. In this meticulously researched biography, Antonia Fraser offers important judgements and reassessments on central questions of the reign, such as Charles's relationships, his attitude to Kingship, his patriotism and his religious beliefs. Above all she has succeeded in writing a totally compelling narrative, both moving and exciting, and showing all the skills and insights which have secured her place as one of the foremost biographers of our time.
`A rich feast of instruction, drama and entertainment' TLS
`The fullest and most sophisticated account of the most charming and approachable of English Kings' OBSERVER