The Restoration

Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) died on 3 September 1658. His son and successor, Richard (1626-1712), did not command the confidence of the New Model Army as his father had. After reigning as Lord Protector for just seven months, Richard was deposed by the New Model Army in the spring of 1659. Charles II’s (1630-1685) main ally was Cromwell’s governor of Scotland, General George Monck (1608-1670), who went on to become the chief architect of the Restoration.

Monck had changed sides during the civil wars. In the mid 1650s rumours circulated that he was secretly working for the Stuarts. These rumours were probably baseless at the time. But, in July 1659, Monck finally opened a line of communication with the Stuart court at the Hague. Leading his superior army south to remove the chief parliamentarians Charles Fleetwood (1618-1692) and John Lambert (1619-1684), Monck entered London on 3 February 1660. At this stage his purpose seems unclear. Monck dissolved the Rump Parliament and established a new Convention Parliament. He was effectively in control of the British Commonwealth.

All this while, Charles was negotiating with Monck. On 4 April 1660, at Monck’s recommendation, Charles issued the Declaration of Breda. In it, he promised a general pardon for all crimes committed during the civil wars and Interregnum, for those who recognized him as the lawful king. On 1 May the Convention Parliament voted that ‘the government is and ought to be in King, Lords and Commons’, and formally invited Charles to return to Britain. On 8 May Charles was proclaimed king, and the date if his accession back-dated to the execution of Charles I (1600-1649) on 30 January 1649. Charles landed at Dover on 25 May, and entered London on 29 May, his thirtieth birthday. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1661.