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3 Oct 2014
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This Sceptred Isle

The First Political Parties
In 1662 Charles II married Catherine of Braganza. She came as part of an alliance with Portugal and brought with her a fine dowry: trading concessions in the Portuguese empire and the gift of Tangiers and Bombay. Parliament was in need of restructure but lacked a strong leader. Parliament rendered all honour to the king but had not intention of being ruled by him. There emerged two political groups, the Court Party and the Country Party, Tories and Whigs. Religion took second place to politics for the first time.

Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza
CATHERINE OF BRAGANZA (1638-1705)

  • Portuguese and devout Roman Catholic
  • Wife of Charles II (1662)
  • Humiliated by arrival of husband's mistress Barbara Villiers and their children at Court
  • Failed to conceive and was not popular among the people
  • Charles and Catherine lived apart in retirement
  • In 1692 seven years after Charles's death she went home to Spain

did you know?
Charles sold Dunkirk to France because he needed the money.


EXTRACT FROM SAMUEL PEPYS' DIARY ILLUSTRATING THE PROMISCUITY OF THE TIME
Twenty third of July.
Being in an idle and wanton humour, walked through Fleet Alley, and there stood a most pretty wench at one of the doors. So I took a turn or two; but what by sense of honour and conscience, I would not go in. But much against my will, took coach and away to Westminster Hall, and there light of Mrs. Lane and plotted with her to go over the water; so met at White Stairs in Channel Row, and over to the old house at Lambeth Marsh and there eat and drank and had my pleasure of her twice - she being the strangest women in talk, of love to her husband sometimes, and sometimes again she doth not care for him - and yet willing enough to allow me a liberty of doing what I would with her.

So spending five or six shillings upon her, I could do what I would; and after an hour's stay and more, back again and set her ashore there again, and I forward to Fleestreet and called at Fleet Alley, not knowing how to command myself; and went in and there saw what formerly I have been acquainted with, the wickedness of those houses and the forcing a man to present expense. The woman indeed, is a most lovely woman; but I had not courage to meddle with her, for fear of her not being wholesome, and so counterfeited that I had not money enough.

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Chronology
1645New Model Army is established
Laud is executed
Use of the prayer book is forbidden
1646Charles I surrenders to the Scots
Receives propositions of Newcastle
1647Scots hand Charles I over to the English
1649Charles I is tried and executed
The monarchy and the House of Lords are abolished
The Commonwealth is declared.
1658Oliver Cromwell dies
1660Charles II signs the Declaration of Breda
Charles II is restored to the throne
1662Charles II marries Catherine of Braganza
1665The Great Plague
1666The Fire of London
1672Charles II issues the Declaration of Indulgence
1677Princess Mary marries William of Orange
1685Charles II dies
James II becomes king of England


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