Charles II (1630 – 1685) was king of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Charles reigned as king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the 1660, ensuring the restoration of the monarchy until his death in 1685. The eldest child of Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland and Henrietta Maria of France. The climax of the English civil war culminated in Charles I’s execution at Whitehall on 30th January 1649 and the parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II king on the 5th of February 1649.
However, England entered an unsettled period of history entitled the ‘English Commonwealth’, led by Oliver Cromwell. The defeat of Charles II by Cromwell at the battle of Worcester on the 3rd September 1651 ensured the flight of Charles to mainland Europe whilst Cromwell took control of England, Scotland and Ireland. Charles spent the following nine years in exile in France, the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands. The political crisis following the death of Cromwell in 1658 resulted in the restoration of the monarchy, and Charles II was invited to return to Britain. The 29th of May 1660, marked Charles II 30th birthday whereupon he was received in London to public acclaim and rightfully took his place on the throne. After 1660, all legal documents stating a regnal year did so as if he had succeeded his father as king in 1649.
This exceptionally important and rare 17th Century Charles II silver and gilt mirror celebrated the restoration of Charles II to the throne is titled the ‘Boys and the Crown Mirror’. The bevelled period plate set within pierced and shaped giltwood frame finely carved in high relief, the arched cresting centred with two winged putti holding the Imperial State Royal Crown of St. Edward aloft flanked with scrolling and trailing foliate, flowerhead, ruffles and S and C scroll motif. The ornately carved sides with winged putti holding the Sovereign’s Sceptres aloft, scrolling foliate, flowerhead and ruffle motif raised over apron with moulded panel with scrolling foliate carved in low relief supported on centred stylised fleur de lys flanked with scrolling acanthus leaf, S and C scrolls and whorl motif, circa 1685.
Charles was one of the most popular and beloved kings of England, known as the Merry Monarch, in reference to both the liveliness and hedonism of his court and the general relief at the return to normality after over a decade of rule by Cromwell and the Puritans. Charles’s reign saw the rise of colonisation and trade in India, the East Indies and America (the British captured New York from the Dutch in 1664), and the Passage of Navigation Acts that secured Britain’s future as a sea power. He founded the Royal Society in 1660. Charles died on 6 February 1685. He was succeeded by his brother James who became James II of England and Ireland and James VII of Scotland.