Wealhtheow's Reviews > Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration

Royal Charles by Antonia Fraser
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's review
Mar 30, 2012

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bookshelves: british-history, historical, non-fiction
Read from March 30 to May 01, 2012

Charles II was born while his father was still king of England, but before he was fully grown England had revolted. First Charles I was dethroned, and then he was beheaded. Charles II spent his youth in exile, often narrowly escaping capture, always indebted to others. The constant danger and espionage turned him from a hot-headed prince into a tightly controlled man.

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Reading Progress

03/30/2012 page 13
2.0% "When Henrietta Maria maried King Charles I of England, part of her marriage contract stated that her children should not be nursed by Catholics. Religion in breast milk=serious business!"
03/30/2012 page 26
5.0% "King Charles I sends his NINE YEAR OLD son (Charles II) to the House of Lords to try to convince them to let the Earl of Stafford live. Instead, he is executed the next day."
03/30/2012 page 73
14.0% "In England, Christmas was canceled--the Rump Parliament considered it Popish. Shopes were forbidden to close; the House of Commons continued to sit."
04/03/2012 page 77
15.0% "On his way to his execution, Charles I wore two shirts so he wouldn't shiver from cold and be mistaken for a coward."
04/03/2012 page 103
20.0% "When Charles II refused to give the Duke of Buckingham command of the army, Buckingham refused to speak to Charles, come to the Council, or change his linen. Buckingham was twenty-three years old, so this is pretty ridiculous behaviour."
04/04/2012 page 145
28.0% "By July 1655, Charles II so poor that he can't support the pack of hounds given to him as a gift, doesn't even have enough money for washing, is reported to be so poor that he goes without meat for 10 days straight. By 1657, every drop of drink, food, all the fire, all the candles, is paid for by credit.Charles walks everywhere, for there is no money for a carriage."
04/04/2012 page 174
33.0% ""yacht" is an anglicized name for jaght schip, or hunt ship"
04/06/2012 page 181
35.0% "When authors say "the streets literally flowed with wine" I always wonder what is actually physically happening. Like, are the gutters filled with wine and then people dip their cups/hands into it? Cuz that sounds like a sure recipe for dysentary..."
04/06/2012 page 205
39.0% "Catharine [of Braganza] arrived at Portsmouth on 13 May 1662. One of her first actions was to ask for a cup of tea. It was in its own way a milestone in our social history. It is true that tea-drinking had been known in England before this date but it was extremely rare. The national beverage was ale...Subsequently Queen Catherine did a great deal to popularize the general drinking of tea..."
04/19/2012 page 289
55.0% ""Nell's rivalry with Louise de Keroualle, who prided herself on coming of a good French family, was enlivened when Louise went into mourning for the death of some professedly grand relation; Nell proceeded to dress herself in mourning for the Great Cham of Tartary.""
04/19/2012 page 299
57.0% "Shakespeare's plays considered too bawdy during the Restoration. "About 1680 Nicholas Clement, the French royal librarian, made a note in his catalogue on the subject, in which he expressed the opinion that, although the playwright's thoughts were natural, his words ingeniously chosen, and he showed 'a somewhat fine imagination', nevertheless 'these happy wualities' were obscured by 'the dirt'" Shakespeare put in."
04/25/2012 page 360
69.0% "1678, Titus Oates and Green Ribbon Club rile up fears of a popish plot. "So profound was the atmosphere of fear and agitation that fashionable ladies took to going about with precautionary pistols in their muffs.""
04/25/2012 page 364
69.0% "Ralph Montagu, English Ambassador to the Court of France, has an affair with King's ex, Barbara. BUT he simultaneously has an affair with Barbara's daughter Anne. Barbara incarcerated Anne in a convent to keep them apart, but Anne got out and started up with Montagu again. Barara tries to get Montagu sacked, so he reveals Charles II's intriques with Louis XIV. Dammit!"
04/27/2012 page 446
85.0% "Charles II purged, bled, cauterized, clystered, blistered. 58 drugs (inc. oriental bezoar stone from the stomach of a goat,spirits of human skull)administered in 5 days. Red hot irons put to his shaven skull and naked feet. His urine became scalding thru due to the cantharides...They all had one thing in common: they were extremely painful to the patient. These prodigious efforts were much admired at the time."
04/27/2012 page 448
85.0% "While Charles II is tortured by his doctors on his deathbed, he is constantly surrounded. No fewer than 75 lords, Privy Councillors, surgeons, 5 bishops, and servants."
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