The Royal Entry of Charles II

As part of the effort to signal the return to normality at the Restoration, Charles II staged a spectacular entry to the city of London on the eve of his coronation. But for all the emphasis in the spectacle on unity and legitimacy, it was difficult to conceal the very real ideological tensions in the city. Although Londoners had been enthusiastic about the return of the king, they had varying expectations of Charles’ rule, and disagreements soon emerged over religion. As Professor Ian Archer and Professor Paulina Kewes discuss in this film, that meant that the entry of 1661 was more divisive than previous such events.

Key Questions

  • What kinds of political message did Charles II’s entry to the city of London in 1661 communicate?
  • What do we know about how contemporaries reacted to the entry of 1661?
  • ‘Nothing keepes upp a king more than seremoney & order which makes distance.’ Was the Duke of Newcastle right?

Further Reading

  • Matthew Jenkinson, Culture and Politics at the Court of Charles II, 1660-1685 (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2010).
  • Kevin Sharpe, Rebranding Rule: The Restoration and Revolution Monarchy 1660-1714 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).
  • Christine Stevenson, The City and the King. Architecture and Politics in Restoration London (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013).

Unless otherwise noted, images in this film are reproduced by courtesy of the Ashmolean Museum and the Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford.

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