Charles II (1630-1685) was known as the Merry Monarch by his people - partly because he and his court pursued a lively and indulgent lifestyle, and partly because the country was relieved that things returned to relative normal after more than ten years of very strict Puritan rule under Oliver Cromwell.
When Charles II's father, Charles I, was executed in 1649 at the end of the English Civil War, the Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II king. In England, however, Oliver Cromwell presided over the English Commonwealth. Charles II continued to fight for the throne but was defeated by Cromwell in 1651, and fled to Europe, leaving Cromwell as a virtual dictator.
Oliver Cromwell died in 1658 and chaos followed. Finally, after nine long years in exile, Charles was invited to return to Britain in 1660. He arrived in London on his 30th birthday to cheering crowds!
Charles II's reign was tumultuous, with religion once again the major problem. Charles II was a Roman Catholic sympathiser (in fact, he converted to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed) but Parliament and much of the country was still staunchly Protestant. Charles II dissolved Parliament (that is, disbanded it) in 1681 and ruled without it until he died in 1685.
Charles II was married to Catherine of Braganza. They had no children so he was succeeded by his brother James.
Charles II lived in exile for many years while the English Civil War raged. Our Charles II notebooking pages are great for older children studying the monarchy or the English Civil War to write down what they learn.
Colour in this lovely colouring page of King Charles II, based on a well known portrait. Isn't he grand?