King Charles II, The Merry Monarch
King Charles II
King Charles was born 29 May 1630 in St. James Palace, son of King Charles I. Charles II would be known as the most notorious womanizer of the English kings. Flamboyant, fun, and a scandalous one. He was tall, dashing, charismatic, and full of happiness.
He married Catherine of Braganza of Portugal, who spent her early years in a convent and was rather shy and reserved. Born in 1638 and died in 1705. She would be buried in the Bemposta Palace, Lisbon, Portugal. Although the English did not take kindly to Catherine because of her faith and language barrier, in later years, she became respected by most of the population. Although at one point, there was a plot to dispose of her for treason, which Charle immediately put a stop to. Some in the House of Commons told him to divorce her since she could not produce an heir. Again Charles refused even to consider it.
It was commonplace to have mistresses during this era, and Charles was typical. But, he was not the King that had the most mistresses. That title belongs to King Henry I, who had twenty-two mistresses.
Catherine of Braganza
Catherine was born in 1638 in Lisbon, Portugal spending her young life in a convent with little contact with being outside. She was quiet, reserved, but well-mannered. When she married Charles in 1662, her dowry was considerable, which was a beneficial for England.
Her dowry included 500,000 English money, Bombay, Tangier, and free trade with Portuguese colonies.
Catherine had a few severe illnesses, and Charles spent many nights beside her bed, caring for her. It was he who would clean her, change her bedding, refusing to let her servants do it. He demanded that all of the courts show her respect and treat her as her position required. It seems Charles was in fact devoted to Catherine even though he had many mistresses and illegitimate children.
After Charles's death in 1685, Catherine would return to Portugal. She died in 1705 and is buried in Bemosta Palace, Lisbon.
The Mistresses of King Charles II
Here are the seven mistresses of King Charles II who had children by him:
Barbara Palmer, known as Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland. She was the longest standing mistress for fourteen years and known for her beauty and promiscuity. She also had affairs with at least five other men. One of those was with the bastard son of Charles and Lucy Walters. Barbara used her feminine charms to secure positions for her friends and family. Yet together, she and Charles had six children. Only five would be acknowledged.
Louise de Kerouaille, also rumored to be a French spy. They had one son together.
Mary "Moll" Davis, was an entertainer, singer, and actress. Together, they had one daughter. She was the only mistress to be given a house, a pension, and a costly ring.
Catherine Pegge. Together they had a son.
Elizabeth Kilgore, Viscountess Shannon. Together they had a daughter.
Lucy Walters. Together they had a son.
Nell Gwyn, actress, and prostitute. Together they had one son.
The other mistresses were: Winifred Wells, Jane Roberts, Mrs. Knight, Mary Bogart and Elizabeth, Countess of Kildare, and Hortense Mancini.
Barbara Palmer Villiers
Barbara Palmer Villiers
Barbara was the longest standing mistress bearing six children with Charles. All were acknowledged except one. It was believed that her daughter, Barbara Fitzroy, was, in fact, the daughter of John Churchill.
The Illegitimate Children of Charles II
The children of Charles II by his mistresses numbered eleven and were:
James Scott, First Duke of Monmouth
Charlotte Fitzroy, Countess of Yarmouth
Charles Fitzcharles, First Earl of Plymouth
Charles Fitzroy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland
Henry Fitzroy, First Duke of Grafton
George Fitzroy, First Duke of Northumberland
Charles Beauclerk, First Duke of St. Albans
Charles Lennox, First Duke of Richmond
Lady Mary Tudor
King Charles II and His Reign
His reign was also known as the Restoration Period. After years of Oliver Cromwell became the dictator of England. Charles attempted to stop him, but he was defeated at the Battle of Worcester and became a fugitive for several years. He escaped to France with help from his loyal court. Cromwell died in 1658, and the monarchy was restored with Charles returning to England.
During his reign, Charles established the Royal Conservatory, the House of Chelsa, the Royal Mathematical School, and the King's Hospital in Dublin.
It was during his reign the Black Plague, and the Great Fire had to be dealt with. He can be credited with the colonization and trade in India, the East Indies, and America. He is credited with the Passage of the Navigation Act.
Charles converted to the Catholic faith on his deathbed. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on June 21, 2020:
Thanks for reading and his last words spoke volumes.
Virginia Gobetz on June 20, 2020:
"Let not poor Nellie starve."King Charlesll to his brother and heir,James referring to Nell Gwynn,on his death bed.
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on March 16, 2020:
Thank you for reading
Rosina S Khan on March 15, 2020:
It's nice to know about King Charles II who cared enough for his wife, Queen Catherine and yet had so many mistresses and illegitimate children. Charles also did a number of good deeds during his reign. Yes, his account is interesting to read. Thank you for sharing.
Mitara N from South Africa on March 15, 2020:
Very interesting article
Thanks for sharing
fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on March 15, 2020:
They sure are interesting! Thanks for the comment
Liz Westwood from UK on March 15, 2020:
Unfortunately the royal family in the UK can't be relied on to set a good moral example.