Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Look for the Sign!

I haven't done much in the miniature line for a while, so there isn't much progress to show you, but one thing that has been done is the sign on the pub.

If you go back through some old posts you will see that I painted the swan (or swans as there is one on each side) a while ago, but that was as far as it got for a while. I recently framed the sign and hung it in position. 

At first I thought it might be a bit low down, but 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Period Style Guide: Charles II, his Mistresses and Other Pleasures

Charles II presented with a pineapple, supposedly the first grown in England  in 1675, outside Ham House.
It can be said that Charles II lived a life in pursuit of pleasure. He was known as the Merry Monarch and he enjoyed the high life. He is most famous perhaps for his large number of mistresses and illegitimate children. From his mid-teens until his death, there were plenty of women in his life, but the king was not as debauched as some of his enemies would have liked you to believe. 

Yes, Charles was married (though not when some of his illegitimate children were born), but he wasn't the first king to have mistresses, and he treated his wife well in comparison to some of his ancestors! But the king didn't have lots of mistresses all at once, they were spread out across his life, and, perhaps with one or two exceptions, he pretty much stuck with one mistress at a time. He also accepted parentage of many of his illegitimate children. 

Some of Charles' mistresses were richly rewarded for their services with pensions and other incomes awarded to them, along with homes and expensive gifts. They were also in some cases given noble titles, as were some of their children fathered by the king.

Below is a roughly chronological list of the most well known of Charles' mistresses, and some of the children fathered by Charles.

Lucy Walter

Charles met Lucy Walter in 1648, whilst he was still living in exile. I suppose she was more of a lover than a mistress. In 1649 Lucy gave birth to a son, Charles' first acknowledged illegitimate child. The child was named James. 

The relationship was not to last long. As Lucy fell rapidly into a life of dissipation, she was alleged to have aborted 2 further children, and was also charged with murdering a maid, although the charges were later dropped. Charles distanced himself from Lucy, but made attempts to 'rescue' his son, practically kidnapping him, but his attempts were unsuccessful and it wasn't until 1658 when Lucy was dying of syphilis in Paris that she agreed to hand over care of her son to his grandmother, Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I and mother of Charles II.

Duke of Monmouth

As an illegitimate child, James could not be heir to the throne. He was given the title of Duke of Monmouth. You will hear more of the Duke of Monmouth in later posts when we look at the reign of Charles' younger brother,  James II.

Elizabeth Killigrew

Married to Francis Boyle, son of Lord Cork; a wealthy Irish landowner, Elizabeth Killigrew followed the exiled queen Henrietta Maria to Europe and became the queen's Maid of Honour, as part of the court she would have met Charles often. 
Elizabeth and charles had a daughter, Charlotte Jemima Henrietta Maria Fitzroy in 1650. I can't ind any pictures of Elizabeth, but I did find this sweet portrait of her daughter Charlotte.

Charlotte married twice, and it was through her second marriage, to William Paston, that she eventually became lady Yarmouth.

Catherine Pegge

Another affair conducted whilst in exile from England was that of Catherine Pegge. Her father was a Royalist supporter, and after he was captured by the Parliamentarians, he was forced into exile with his family. 

Their liaison resulted in the birth of two children, a daughter Catherine Fitzcharles in 1657 who died and Charles Fitzcharles in 1658. Charles Fitzcharles was given the nickname Don Carlo, because of his  Spanish looks. Charles became the 1st Earl of Plymouth.

Charles, First Earl of Plymouth

Winifred Wells

Winifred Wells was a courtier, the Maid of Honour to Charles' wife Catherine of Braganza. Samuel Pepys makes reference to Winifred as the King's mistress in his diaries. Pepys also wrote in his diary that Winifred had 'dropped a child' (given birth) during a ball held at court in December 1662. 
From what I can make out, this is one child that Charles does not acknowledge as his own.

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is said to have met Charles whilst he was still in exile. She was married to Roger Palmer, a Catholic Royalist, who became a politician in 1660, and who was said to be a gloomy, depressed figure in the presence of his wife. It was in 1660 also that Barbara became Charles' mistress. Roger's father had warned his son that Barbara would make Roger one of the most miserable men in the world, when he discovered their plans to marry. In part he was probably right. Made 1st Earl of Castlemaine in recognition of his services to the King in 1661, he separated from his wife in 1662, though they never divorced.

Roger Palmer
Barbara gave birth to a girl in 1661, and claimed Charles as the father. Her daughter was named Anne, who later became the Countess of Sussex. A son was born the following year, Charles was later to become Lord Limerick, the Earl of Southampton - later the Duke of Southampton, and 2nd Duke of Cleveland. 

Barbara was generally known in court as Lady Castlemaine. in the early years she had a great deal of influence on the King within his court. She was known to have a quick temper, which the king gave in to. Naturally, Queen Catherine (of Braganza) was not happy about Lady Castlemaine's power and she and the Queen were known to dislike one another. 

When Barbara was appointed Lady of the Bedchamber, Queen Catherine opposed it, but, unlike those of Lady Castlemaine, her tantrums and threats were ignored. The Queen had the backing of Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon; the King's Chief Advisor. Clarendon, related by marriage to Lady Castlemaine, felt embarrassed by her role as mistress and her constant presence at court. He bitterly resented her, and tried what he could to remove her. His plans eventually backfired, and it was he that was dismissed in 1667. In the end Queen Catherine found that good grace, tact and restraint had a better effect on the King, and their marriage settled down amicably

For reasons that remain unclear, Lady Castlemaine converted to Catholicism in 1663. This was an unusual decision in a country still hostile to the religion. Perhaps she wished to appease her estranged husband, or maybe she felt it would curry favour with King Charles; However his response to the news was that he was interested in ladies' bodies, not in their souls. 

By the end of the 1660s Charles affections for Lady Castlemaine were on the wane. He had fallen for the 'witty, pretty Nelly'; a young actress called Nell Gwynn, probably the most well known of Charles' mistresses. Barbara had taken several other lovers, including John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. In 1670 Charles made Barbara First Duchess of Cleveland, Countess of Southampton and Baroness Nonsuch (it was Barbara who had Henry VIII's Nonsuch palace demolished and sold off the pieces). Generous perhaps, but seen by most historians as a form of Golden Handshake. Perhaps to appease her fiery temper as she was cast from Charles' affections. 

Barbara's fate was sealed when the 1672/3 Test Act was passed, banning Roman Catholics from holding office, she lost her position as Lady of the Bedchamber and was advised by the King to live quietly and to cause no scandal. 

Barbara, Lady Castlemaine with her son Charles Fitzroy

Of her six children, Charles acknowledge five as his own.
Anne Fitzroy (Leonard), Countess of Sussex
Charles Fitzroy, 2nd Duke of Cleveland
Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Grafton
Charlotte Fitzroy (Lee), Countess of Lichfield
George Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Northumberland
Barbara Fitzroy. (probably the daughter of John Churchill)

Anne Fitzroy as a child
Charlotte Fitzroy as a child...
And as an adult

Nell Gwynn

The famous diarist, Samuel Pepys took an interest in most of the King's mistresses, and recorded details about them within his diaries. He described Eleanor Gwynn as 'Pretty, witty Nell. 
Nell is perhaps the most famous of Charles' mistresses, the 'rags to riches' story has popular appeal. Not much is known about Nell's origins, She is described as being born either in London, Oxford or Hereford, of Welsh decent. Her mother ran a bawdy house, otherwise known as a brothel, though Nell is recorded as claiming never to have been a prostitute there, only serving visitors with strong drink.
It was through a friend of her mother's that Nell obtained a job selling oranges to audiences within the theatre on Drury Lane, the King's Playhouse. Young attractive girls were used to sell the oranges and other fruits and confectionary to the gentlemen and ladies in the theatre, some would certainly be no stranger to prostitution, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they sold favours as well as oranges within the theatre itself. 

Nell's looks, her quick wit and clear voice attracted the attentions of Thomas Killigrew, the theatre's owner. She soon found herself on the stage itself as an actress. Her first recorded appearance on the stage was in 1665, playing Cydaria in a drama by John Dryden titled The Indian Emperour. 
Nell was not taken by the part, she didn't like the serious parts and hated serious plays, Samuel Pepys, who saw a later performance of the play with Nell in the same part thought she was badly miscast. 
Her famous wit meant she was more comfortable playing roles in the new Restoration Comedies of the day and it was in these roles that she grew to be a successful actress. 

Nell Gwynn stuffing sausages. Yes, this was as suggestive at the time as it might be considered now!!
In 1667, George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham, attempted to introduce the King to Nell, but the plan failed, perhaps because Nell had sought a fee of £500 a year to be kept by the King. Buckingham set the Charles up with another actress instead, Moll Davis (I'll tell a you a little about Moll Davis next!).

The king's affair with Moll Davis didn't last long, and by 1668 Nell Gwynn was well known to be the King's latest mistress. In April 1668 the King and his brother the Duke of York attended a play called She wou'd if She Cou'd, the King saw little of the play, instead he flirted with Nell, who was in the next box (probably not by chance!). Charles is said t have invited Nell out to supper after the play, but after the supper, the King found that he and his brother had no money. It was Nell Gwynn who ended up paying the bill, and is said to have exclaimed in good humour, "Od's fish! but this is the poorest company I ever was in!"

In 1670 Nell gave birth to a son, another on the growing list of Charles' illegitimate children. Charles Beauclerk (the K is silent) and to another son in 1671, James Beauclerk. Nell was moved into a house on Pall Mall, but was unhappy to be merely the lessee, not the owner of the property, and demanded the house be signed over to her. She did eventually get her own way in 1676. 

It seems that Nell was also determined to have her children raised as gentlemen. Sadly, James died in 1681 whilst being educated in Paris. Her elder son Charles was granted the Earldom of Burford in 1676 (at the same time his younger brother was given the title Lord Beauclerk). Quite how he came to be granted this title is subject to speculation, some say that on a visit to his son by the King, Nell called out something along the lines of,  "Come here you little bastard and say hello to your father!" The King is said to have protested at the way Nell called her son, to which she replied. "but Your Majesty has given me no other name by which to call him!" The other story is that Nell took her son and held him outside a window, threatening to drop the child unless he was granted a peerage, to which the King responded by saying "God save the Earl of Burford!".  in 1684 Charles granted his son the title of Duke of St Albans. 

Charles, Earl of Burford, Duke of St Albans
On his deathbed in 1685 Charles asked his brother james to "Let not poor Nelly starve." As James II, he obeyed his late brother's request and paid off Nell's debts, granting her a pension of £1500 a year. 

Moll Davis

Moll Davis was a singer and actress, introduced to Charles II by George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham, who had also introduced him to Nell Gwynn, and for a time, both were rivals for the King's affection. For a while Moll was the one who succeeded. She received gifts from the King, such as a fine coach, and a ring costing £600 (a vast sum of money at the time), and she was accused of flaunting these gifts. gaining a reputation for vulgarity and impertinence. In 1668 the Kind is said by Samuel Pepys to have furnished a house 'most richly' which he declared 'a most infinate shame' Pepys wife had called Moll 'the most impertinent slut in the world!'

In 1669 Moll gave birth to a daughter, fathered by Charles II. She became Lady Mary Tudor (not to be confused with Henry VIII's daughter and Bloody Queen!!) 

Lady Mary Tudor
It is said that Moll fell out of favour with Charles II partly due to some dirty tricks played by Nell Gwynn and her friend Aphra Behn. One evening, when Moll was due to sup with the King, Nell and Aphra are said to have laced some sweetmeats destined for Moll with julap, a laxative. Her evening with the King did not go well! 

By 1670 Moll had been bought off with a pension of £1000 a year, and Nell Gwynn and replaced her as the King's mistress. Moll took to high stakes card games and later in 1686 married the French born composer Jacques Paisible (anglicised to James) who worked in London and who worked in the court of James II.

Louise de Kéroualle

Louise de Kéroualle came from a noble French family. She was part of the household of Henrietta Anne Stuart, the Duchess of Orléans, Sister of Charles II and Louis XIV of France's sister-in-law. In 1670 Louise accompanied Charles' sister on a visit to Dover, partly to persuade Charles to sign the secret treaty of Dover with Louis XIV, where Charles could secure men and financial backing for a war with the Dutch, in exchange for declaring himself a Catholic. 

The Duchess died suddenly in June 1670, and Louise was left unprovided for, until Charles II appointed her as a lady-in-waiting for his wife Queen Catherine.

Louise was another mistress for Charles, and another rival for Nell Gwynn. Nell unkindly referred to Louise as Squintabella, and mocked her when, during the height of the Popish Plot ( a period of high anti-Catholicism), an angry mob attacked Nell's coach in the mistaken belief that it was Louise inside, pulled down the coach window and cried out, "Good people, pray be civil! I am the Protestant whore!"

At the same time as receiving gifts and attention from Charles, Louise was also being sent expensive gifts from King Louis XIV, not least among them a pair of earrings worth at the time over £18,000!
Was Louise a spy for the French King, expected to report on Charles? There is a possibility that this was the case. She received support from the French Ambassador Colbert de Croissy on the understanding that she should serve Louis, her native king. However, if Charles ever suspected any intrigue, he didn't show it. He found a domestic stability in Louise, and showed great affection for her. He nick-named her Fubbs or Fubbsy, a term used at the time to describe a chubby, rounded figure. 

Almost inevitably, Louise gave birth to a son by Charles, in 1672. He was created The Duke of Richmond in 1675. Louise herself received the titles Baroness Petersfield, Countess of Fareham and Duchess of Portsmouth in 1673. She was also another of Charles' mistresses that he mentioned on his death bed, instructing his brother James to "do well by Portsmouth". However, the pensions and revenues she received were lost during the Glorious Revolution of 1688 (more about that some other time!).

Some of the others and the one that got away!

Hortense Mancini 
There are several other women who have gone down in history as mistresses to King Charles II. Hortense Mancini had won the king's affection in 1675, but her promiscuity and possible lesbianism meant that she wasn't in favour with the king for long. She did receive a pension from Charles and remained in the various English courts until her death in 1699.

Other women named as mistresses include Jane Roberts, a clergyman's daughter; Elizabeth, Countess of Kildare; Mary Killigrew, Countess of Falmouth and Mrs Knight, a famous singer. 

Francis Stewart, Duchess of Richmond
There was one woman known to have refused all of Charles II's romantic advances, the face of Britannia herself; Frances Stewart, Duchess of Richmond.

An illustration of a coin dating from the reign of Charles II with Britannia  on one side.
Wearing a helmet and holding a trident, Francis modeled as Britannia, and her engraving appeared on British coins right up into the 20th century, where until recently a version of the original appeared on the back of the 50 pence piece.

Charles' Other Pleasures

Women were not the only pleasure in Charles' life. As we have seen the King was keen on the theatre and music. He was also a sponsor of the arts, architecture and sciences. 

Charles' brother James, Duke of York, playing tennis
Some sporting gentlemen during the reign of Charles II
Charles was also a keen sportsman. He was particularly fond of tennis and played very well. He could also been spotted plunging into the freezing water of the Thames, his courtiers looking on as he enjoyed his swim. He also enjoyed boating and fishing. Queen Caroline also took an interest in fishing and King and Queen would sometimes rise early and fish together at Hampton Court Palace. In winter he took to skating on the frozen ice, at the time it was referred to as 'sliding'.

An illustration engraving of the Frost Fair 1683-4
A souvenir ticket issued to the King and his family printed at the Frost Fair on the ice! 

Charles enjoyed a walk too, he was known to have a fast pace, and enjoyed taking his dogs along with him. Charles' favourite breed of spaniel were eventually to be graced with his name. 

Some children with King Charles Spaniels
Charles II as a baby with his own spaniel, the breed would eventually take his name.
As a Royal, his love of horses started at an early age. He was an experienced rider and rode very well. He liked horse racing too, particularly in his later years. Horse racing became in integral part of the British social and sporting scene during Charles' reign. He was particularly fond of racing at Newmarket, and would stay at Audley End with the Earl of Suffolk, before buying Audley End for himself in 1669 for £50,000.

Charles II on horseback
The King also loved birds, he collected rare birds and had aviaries built especially for them. Birdcage Walk, near Buckingham Palace, is named after the King's aviary.

Charles was known to take a great interest in Horticulture too. He was particularly keen on trees, and had thousands of them planted at Greenwich and at Hampton Court Palace.  

The private closet at Ham House set out for  tea.

Tea drinking paraphernalia from around the time of Charles II
Whilst Charles II favoured Champagne to drink. his Queen had more sober tastes, preferring tea, and she was responsible for making tea drinking popular in England. It was Green China tea that was drank at this time, black Indian tea (our national beverage!) came along later. Coffee and chocolate were also popular, and there were hundreds of coffee houses in London during the reign of Charles II (and not a Starbucks or Costa in sight!!)
Inside a 17th century Coffee House
A plaque in modern day London commemorating the site of the first coffee house in London

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Period Style Guide: The Restoration and Later Stuarts

An Introduction to Charles II and events during his reign

It's hard for me to comprehend that it has been well over one and a half years since my last Period Style Guide! To save you looking back, it was The Civil War period in England. Scotland and Ireland, with Oliver Cromwell taking charge and eventually declaring himself the Lord Protector. King Charles I was executed and his family forced into exile in Europe. When Cromwell died in 1658, his son Richard was left to lead the country. However, Richard wasn't a good leader and was forced to abdicate in 1659.

Without a head of state, England was in a bit of a quandary, and Parliament seemed to have no idea what direction to take.  In late April 1660 a new Parliament was assembled and they invited Prince Charles to return from exile and become the King of England.

Charles at a ball at The Hague the evening before he sailed to England as its new King
In May 1660, Charles signed the Declaration of Breda, which included amongst other things a pardon for many of his father's enemies and to pay arrears of army pay. Parliament then proclaimed that Charles had been the lawful king of England since the execution of his father. King Charles II left The Hague on 23 May and landed at Dover on the 25th. His 30th Birthday was on 29 May, and it was on this day that Charles II entered London. 

Charles II
In August 1660 the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion was passed which pardoned all the past treason against the Crown, amnesty was granted to most of Cromwell's supporters, however, the Act specifically excluded those involved in the trial and execution of Charles I. Over 50 people were specifically involved in the trial, some had died since then, including Cromwell, but there were still over 30 people alive who had been involved in the King's trail and execution. Eventually 9 of those were charged with regicide and executed for treason, the bodies of Cromwell, Henry Ireton and John Bradshaw were all exhumed. they were tried and decapitated posthumously!

The King and his Queen
Charles II was officially crowned King at his coronation on 23 April 1661 at Westminster Abbey. Charles married Catherine of Braganza in 1662. Together they produced no legitimate heirs, however, as the original Merry Monarch, Charles did have a number of illegitimate children (he acknowledged at least 12 of them) borne by his many mistresses.

Catherine of Braganza
It would be nice to think that after so much bloodshed and upheaval during the Civil Wars that the country could enjoy a period of peace and ease. Puritanism lost its momentum with the new King. Theatres reopened after having been shut down by the Protectorship. The bawdy shows from that time became known as Restoration Comedies. Charles II was a great patron of the Arts and of science. The King granted royal patents to William Davenant and Thomas Killigrew. With their monopoly over London theatre the two theatre companies were able to restore and rebuild new theatres in the city, including the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane and the Duke's Theatre. These theatres were also the first to allow Women to act on the stage. the new theatres allowed for more elaborate stage sets and special effects. It was during the Restoration that opera began to grow in popularity in England. Henry Percell wrote his first opera Dido and Aeneas in 1680.

The Dukes Theatre
Literature also flourished; this was the time of Aphra Behn; John Milton; William Wycherley; John Bunyan and John Dryden among many others, some celebrated the restored court, and some was critical. John Wilmot - 2nd Earl of Rochester is supposed to have said playfully of the new King; 

We have a pretty, witty King
and whose word no man relies on
He never says a foolish thing
and never did a wise one

To which Charles is reported to have replied;

'That is true, for my words are my own, and my actions are those of my Ministers!'

Although there were attempts to suppress criticism of the Crown and Parliament, pamphlets, ballads and other cheaply printed matter had been in proliferation for many years. The Oxford Gazette was first published in November 1665, it is said to be the first official newspaper published in England, it was later retitled the London Gazette in 1666 (Scotland had a short-lived newspaper of its own earlier, in 1660, the Mercurius Caledonius). Newspapers were cheap to produce and were widely read in the coffee houses and taverns (more about those in later posts), which sparked widespread political debate in the city.

The Royal Society of London was founded in November 1616. It was granted a Royal Charter by Charles II. The Royal Society was established to promote science and the 'improvement of natural knowledge'. 

Sadly, the Restoration also saw its share of war and disaster. In 1665 a plague epidemic swept through the city of London. Known as the Great Plague it killed between 70,000-100,000 people (one-fifth of the entire population). Theatres and sports grounds were closed to prevent the disease spreading. Well over 200,000 domestic and stray cats and dogs were destroyed, as it was thought that these animals were the cause of the disease spreading. Victims, and their families, were shut up in their homes, doors nailed closed and red crosses painted on the doors (sometimes with the words 'Lord have mercy upon us' as a warning sign of infection within. There were actually two strains of plague at work during the Great Plague; the Bubonic plague, spread by fleas living on rats, and Pneumonic Plague an airbourne infection spread by sneezes and the biggest killer of the two,  usually dispatching victims within the first 24 hours of infection. The dead were collected at night on carts with the call of 'Bring out your dead!', victims were buried in mass graves  known as plague pits.

The poor living conditions and dirt help to spread the diseases, particularly the Bubonic plague, spread by the rats. A very hot summer saw cases of plague increase to a peak in Late August to September. Those who could, including the Royal Court (which went to Oxford) fled the city. 

The fleas travelled in fabric, and the disease spread out from London to affect other parts of the country, such as the city of York and the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, whose inhabitants are famous for putting their entire village into quarantine instead of fleeing and thus preventing the disease spreading further in the area. Doctors and scientists did not understand how the infections were spread, or how to prevent and cure the plague. Nosegays, small bunches of herbs and flowers were thought to help ward off disease. Vinegar was also thought to help, and coins were often soaked in vinegar (and sometimes water) by people before handling them, in case they were infected. 

The epidemic began to affect fewer people as the weather grew colder, after September 1665 the number of recorded cases began to drop steadily and people who had fled the city began to return slowly. Charles II returned to London in February 1666. 

Another disaster the following year is said to have helped clear the last of the plague from the city. This incident was also to have a profound effect on the way the city of London would look in the future. 

At 2.00am on 2 September 1666 a workman for the Kings Baker, Thomas Farynor, reported to his master that he could smell smoke in the bakery. The bake house was on Pudding Lane. Fire was discovered and the baker's family fled across the rooftops of neighbouring buildings, all except the one of the maid servants too scared to climb across the roofs. She, and the family business,  became the first victims of a fire that would rage across the city of London for four days destroying 373 acres of the city, burning over 13,000 houses and 84 churches, including St Paul's Cathedral. 

The official death toll was put at just four, including the Farynors' poor maid, but it is generally thought that the real death toll was much higher, the heat of the inferno being so severe that nothing remained of the victims. 

I will give more detail about the Great Fire of London and its aftermath in a later post, as there is a lot to say!!

War and religious intolerance were also a part life during the Restoration and beyond. Charles' foreign policy swung between alliances with the Dutch and the French. The Dutch Republic was a  Protestant country in a largely Catholic Europe. The House of Orange lent large sums of money to Charles during the English Civil War.  In 1660, to cement diplomatic relations with England and to celebrate the Restoration of Charles II, the Dutch presented the King with a collection of paintings, sculptures , furniture and even a yacht. This became known as the Dutch Gift. However, despite this there was a good amount of commercial and colonial rivalry between the two countries. The Dutch used a system of free trade, their goods were exported around the world and lacked the tax duties that were carried by English goods, so naturally were cheaper and more popular. This ultimately led to what could be described as a trade war between the two countries, Dutch ships were attacked by English privateers. The King's brother James, the Duke of York, convinced Charles that a war with the Dutch  would be in the best interests of England, capturing Dutch trade routes and their colonies. In 1664 the English invaded the dutch colony of New Netherland in North America and took control of it. However, the war didn't go well for England overall, they ran short of money which was not helped by The Great Plague or the Great Fire. In 1667 the Dutch sailed towards the mouth of the River Thames and attacked English ships anchored near Chatham Dockyard on the Medway. 'The Raid of the Medway', as it became known was a great shock the the English and a peace deal between the English and the Dutch was signed soon afterwards. The treaty that was signed allowed the English to keep possession of New Netherland, renamed New York in honour of James, Duke of York.

Artists Impression of the Raid on the Medway, 1667
Charles II also admired the French king's court and his great wealth, money was always tight in the English monarchy by comparison. But France, and it's King, Louis XIV, were Catholic, the Anglican Parliament in England would always be suspicious of the French. However, Charles' wife and Queen of England was Catherine of Braganza, a Catholic. Charles had sympathy with the Catholics, but had to take care not to offend the Anglicans of the English Parliament. 

When the French attacked the Netherlands in the War of Devolution in 1668, the English allied itself to its former enemy, the Dutch, and Sweden. This Triple Alliance forced Louis XIV return land taken. In an effort to solve his financial difficulties, Charles II agreed the Treaty of Dover in 1670, under which Louis XIV would pay Charles an annual fee of £160.000. In exchange for this Charles would agree to supply troops to the French, and to announce that he would convert to Catholicism 'as soon as the welfare of his Kingdom will permit'. Louis XIV in turn agreed to supply 6,000 French troops to suppress any opposition to the English King's conversion. Naturally, the conditions of this Treaty were kept private. Charles must have known that a conversion to Catholicism would have been insupportable  to the Anglican Parliament. However, he did use his prerogative powers to issue a Declaration of Indulgence, which suspended penal laws against Catholics and Non-Conformists in England. The Declaration was short lived, it had fierce opposition from Parliament and Charles was forced to withdraw it in 1673.

Mary with William of Orange
To re-establish his own Protestant credentials; particularly in light of his brother James' marriage to Mary of Modena, another Catholic royal from Europe; Charles Married his niece Princess Mary to William of Orange, from the Dutch House of Orange (this was to have a large impact on later Stuart rule in England).