An invitation to the 1661 coronation of King Charles II is to be auctioned.

Charles II came to the throne of England in 1660 after 11 years of England being a republic and a military dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell and then his son, Richard. Charles, though, had been on the throne of Scotland - which was at first on the side of the Parliamentarians before switching sides to the Royalists - since 1649.

England may have been a republic for 11 years, but such a system was alien to them. Even Cromwell toyed with the idea of becoming King Oliver in 1657.

So it was with much rejoicing that Charles I's son came to the throne on 29th May 1660 after the king, hiding in France, was invited by the English parliament - which was fed up with the mess England found itself in over its leadership - to return and become king and restore the monarchy.

After the abdication of the weak Richard Cromwell, Oliver's son and successor, in 1659, England found itself the victim of civil and military unrest.

George Monck, the Governor of Scotland, was concerned that England would descend into anarchy. England needed the monarchy back.

Monck and his army marched on London, got rid of the "Rump Parliament," and forced a general election. The so-called "Convention Parliament" was elected.

Soon afterwards, parliament received news of the Declaration of Breda, in which Charles, exiled in France, agreed, amongst other things, to pardon many of his father, Charles I's, enemies. The English Parliament resolved to proclaim Charles king and invite him to return. He arrived in Dover on 25th May 1660.

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to see the new king during his coronation on 23rd April - St George's Day - 1661.

Charles reigned until 1685. Upon his death, his brother became James II, who eventually was ousted because of his Catholic faith during the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

The parchment, which confirms arrangements for a royal procession through London and signed by Sir Edward Nicholas, Charles I's personal advisor, may fetch between 150 and 300 when put up for sale on 15th April.

Invitation to Charles II coronation to be auctioned

29 Mar 2010
The Telegraph

The letter, which is headed with the king's well-known signature 'Charles R' and marked with his seal, is now being sold at Duke's auctioneers in Dorchester, Dorset. Photo: BNPS

An invitation to the coronation of Charles II and restoration of the British monarchy after England ceased being a republic is to be auctioned 400 years on.

The handwritten letter was sent from Charles' trusted personal advisor to a nobleman and sets the date of the new king's restoration to the throne in 1661.

The parchment confirms arrangements for a royal procession through London, where Charles was welcomed back after years of exile while Oliver Cromwell was in power.

The letter, which is headed with the king's well-known signature 'Charles R' and marked with his seal, is now being sold at Duke's auctioneers in Dorchester, Dorset.

Dated 1660, it refers to the long-awaited crowning of Charles II, which came 11 years after he fled the country following his father's execution.

The invitation, which is addressed to the "Right, trusty and welbeloved Lord Sandys" sets out plans for the coronation ceremony on April 23, 1661.

The elaborate handwriting outlines the plan to pass through London in procession to be seen by the public before taking the throne at Westminster.

Charles II's coronation in April 1661. He was the last sovereign to make the traditional procession from the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey the day before the coronation.

Part of the page-long letter reads: "...have appointed the 23 day of Aprill [sic] next for the solemnity of our Royall [sic] Coronation. And the day before being the 22 of the same month for our parading from ...London through the same city unto our Palace of Westminster."

The letter is signed by Sir Edward Nicholas, a staunch Royalist and trusted advisor of Charles I who remained an ally of Charles II during his exile in France.

He was appointed Secretary of State by Charles in 1654 and came back with him after the Restoration.

He requests "that you [Lord Sandys] make your personal attendance" where the nobleman would be "furnished and appointed as to your rank and quality."

The whereabouts of the letter until recent years remain a mystery, but it is now being sold by a private collector.

Deborah Doyle, from Duke's auctioneers, said: "It is a truly remarkable letter which provides a fascinating insight into the period.

"It's handwritten from one of Charles II's most trusted advisors, Sir Edward Nicholas, and invites the original owner to the King's coronation ceremony.

"I'm sure the letter will be of great interest to anyone interested in Civil War history.

The writing is difficult to read in parts, so hopefully whoever buys it will enjoy deciphering it in its entirety.

"It is not clear where the letter has been over the last 400 years, but it is now being sold by a private collector. It has a conservative estimate of 150-300 but we're expecting a great deal of interest in the sale."

After his father was executed in 1649, Charles was crowned King of Scotland before being overthrown by Cromwell's armies.

He fled to France in disguise, where he remained with little chance of regaining the English throne until Cromwell died in 1658.

It was not until April 1660 that Parliament resolved to proclaim Charles king, in return for a pardon for his father's enemies.

He was invited to return to England to reclaim his throne on May 8, 1660, and he arrived back in London on May 29 to a hero's welcome.

It was then that he gave instructions for the letter to be sent, outlining the plans for his much-anticipated coronation the following year.

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to greet the newly restored king, who was surrounded by loyal soldiers and elaborate decorations.

Charles II was crowned in Westminster Abbey on April 23, 1661, and reigned until 1685 when he died of illness aged 54.

The auction takes place on April 15.

Act of Settlement: History of how monarchy acquired protestant identity

The Government said talks have taken place with Buckingham Palace about changes to the Act of Succession which would allow heirs to the throne to marry Roman Catholics without forfeiting their place in the line of succession.

1521: The Vatican gives Henry VIII the title of Defender of the Faith Photo: GETTY

Proposed changes would also ensure a girl would not be superseded in the line by a younger male sibling.

Here is a brief history of how the British monarchy acquired its Protestant identity.

1521: The Vatican gives Henry VIII the title of Defender of the Faith after the King rejects the teachings of Protestant reformers, notably Martin Luther.

1529: Cardinal Thomas Wolsey fails to persuade the Vatican to grant Henry VIII a divorce from Catherine of Aragon.

1532: Henry's chief minister Thomas Cromwell pushes through several reforms limiting Papal power. The Pope endorses Thomas Cranmer as Archbishop of Canterbury but Cranmer then grants Henry a divorce. Anne Boleyn is crowned Queen.

Pope excommunicates Henry and then Parliament enacts laws to formally break with Rome.

1534: An Act of Submission of the Clergy and an Act of Succession, together with an Act of Supremacy recognise that the king is "the only supreme head of the Church of England".

1535: Henry's former chancellor Thomas More becomes the most notable opponent of the break with Rome to be executed.

1547: Henry VIII's son, Edward VI, strengthens the Protestant identity of the new Church of England. Just before his death in 1553, he expresses his desire that Lady Jane Grey, his Protestant cousin, should become Queen after him, despite his half-sister Mary being the rightful heir to the Throne according to her father Henry VIII's will.

1549: Book of Common Prayer introduced.

1553: Reformist Protestant queen, Lady Jane Grey, rules for just nine days but country rallies to Edward VI's rightful heir, Catherine of Aragon's daughter Mary, despite her being a Catholic, who becomes Queen Mary I ("Bloody Mary."). the 17-year-old Jane is later executed and Mary restores the Catholic faith. Some 300 Protestant dissenters are executed during her reign.

1558: Anne Boleyn's daughter Elizabeth succeeds her half-sister, who failed to produce an heir.

1563: The 39 Articles of Religion establish the foundation of beliefs practised by the English Anglican church and are seen as moderate and avoiding some of the more puritanical Protestant ideals.

1570: A Papal Bull releases her subjects from loyalty to Elizabeth and she responds with harsh anti-Catholic laws.

1588: Elizabeth defeats the Spanish Armada which had aimed to restore Catholicism.

1603: James I becomes King.

1605: The foiling of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder plotters leads to more strict anti-Catholic laws.

1649: King Charles I is executed, and Oliver Cromwell's staunchly Protestant Commonwealth replaces the monarchy. The interregnum lasts 11 years.

1660: The monarchy is restored and Charles II becoming King. He is viewed with suspicion by some Protestants and converts to Catholicism on his deathbed in 1685.

1685: Charles II's brother James II, himself a Catholic convert, takes the throne.

1688-9: William and Mary of Orange overthrow James II and legislation is enacted to exclude Catholics from the throne. The Sovereign is later required to defend the Protestant faith in the coronation oath.

1701: The Act of Settlement insists the monarch cannot be Catholic and cannot marry a Catholic.

1978: The Queen's cousin Prince Michael of Kent is removed from the line of succession after marrying Marie-Christine von Reibnitz, a Catholic.

2008: Autumn Kelly renounces her Catholic faith, allowing her new husband Peter Phillips, the Queen's grandson, to keep his place in the line of succession.

2009: Downing Street discloses talks have taken place to end the ban on heirs to the throne marrying Catholics and to ensure that a girl will be ahead of a younger male sibling in the line of succession

Last edited by Blackleaf; Apr 8th, 2010 at 02:15 PM..