Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Royalty Restored or London under Charles II. by J. Fitzgerald Molloy

Part 2 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

the procession was Mr. Pepys, who has left us a realistic
description, without which this picture would be incomplete. He
tells us he arose early on this day; and the vain fellow says he
made himself as fine as could be, putting on his velvet coat for
the first time, though he had it made half a year before. "And
being ready," he continues, "Sir W. Batten, my lady, and his two
daughters, and his son and wife, and Sir W. Pen and his son and
I, went to Mr. Young's, the flag-maker, in Corne-hill; and there
we had a good room to ourselves, with wine and good cake, and saw
the show very well. In which it is impossible to relate the
glory of this day, expressed in the clothes of them that rid, and
their horses and horses' clothes; among others, my Lord
Sandwich's embroidery and diamonds were ordinary among them. The
Knights of the Bath was a brave sight of itself. Remarquable
were the two men that represent the two Dukes of Normandy and
Aquitane. My Lord Monk rode bare after the king, and led in his
hand a spare horse, as being Master of the Horse. The king, in a
most rich embroidered suit and cloak, looked most noble. Wadlow,
the vintner, at the Devil, in Fleet Street, did lead a fine
company of soldiers, all young comely men in white doublets.
There followed the Vice-Chamberlain, Sir G. Carteret, and a
company of men all like Turkes. The streets all gravelled, and
the houses hung with carpets before them, made brave show; and
the ladies out of the windows, one of which over against us, I
took much notice of, and spoke of her, which made good sport
among us. So glorious was the show with gold and silver, that we
were not able to look at it, our eyes at last being so much
overcome with it. Both the king and the Duke of York took notice
of us as they saw us at the window. The show being ended, Mr.
Young did give us a dinner, at which we were very merry and
pleased above imagination at what we have seen."

The next day, being the feast of St. George, patron of England,
the king went in procession from Whitehall to Westminster Abbey,
where he was solemnly crowned in the presence of a vast number of
peers and bishops. After which, surrounded by the same brilliant
company, he passed from the Abbey to Westminster Hall, the way
being covered with blue cloth, and lined with spectators to the
number of ten thousand. Here his majesty and the lords,
spiritual and temporal, dined sumptuously, whilst many fine
ceremonies were observed, music of all sorts was played, and a
great crowd of pretty ladies looked down from the galleries. And
when the banquet was over, and a general pardon had been read by
the lord chancellor, and the champion had drank out of the king's
gold cup, Charles betook himself to Whitehall. Then, after two
days of fair weather, it suddenly "fell a-raining, and thundering
and lightning," says Pepys, "as I have not seen it do for some
years; which people did take great notice of."


The King's character.--His proverbial grace.--He tells a story
well.--"A warmth and sweetness of the blood."--Beautiful Barbara
Palmer.--Her intrigue with my Lord Chesterfield.--James, Duke of
York.--His early days.--Escape from St. James's.--Fights in the
service of France.--Marriage with Anne Hyde.--Sensation at
Court.--The Duke of Gloucester's death.--The Princess of Orange.
--Schemes against the Duke of York's peace.--The "lewd
informer."--Anne Hyde is acknowledged Duchess of York.

Whilst the kingdom was absorbed by movements consequent on its
change of government, the court was no less engrossed by
incidents relative to the career it had begun. In the annals of
court life there are no pages more interesting than those dealing
with Charles II, and his friends; in the history of kings there
is no more remarkable figure than that of the merry monarch

Returning to rule over a nation which, during his absence, had
been distracted by civil strife, King Charles, young in years,
brave in deeds, and surrounded by that halo of romance which
misfortune lends its victims, entirely. gained the hearts of his
subjects. Nature had endowed him with gifts adapted to display
qualities that fascinated, and fitted to hide blemishes which
repelled. On the one hand his expressive features and shapely
figure went far towards creating a charm which his personal grace
and courtesy of manner completed; on the other, his delicate tact
screened the heartlessness of his sensualism, whilst his surface
sympathies hid the barrenness of his cynicism.

With the coolness and courage he had shown in danger, the
shrewdness and wit he continually evinced, and the varied
capacities he certainly possessed, Charles II. might have made
his reign illustrious, had not his love of ease and detestation
of business rendered him indifferent to all things so long as he
was free to follow his desires. But these faults, which became
grievous in the eyes of his subjects, commended him to the hearts
of his courtiers, the common purpose of whose lives was pursuit
of pleasure. Never was sovereign more gracious to those who came
in contact with him, or less ceremonious with his friends; whilst
abroad he had lived with his little band of courtiers more as a
companion than a king. The bond of exile had drawn them close
together; an equal fortune had gone far towards obliterating
distinctions of royalty; and custom had so fitted the monarch and
his friends to familiarity, that on his return to England neither
he nor they laid aside a mutual freedom of treatment which by
degrees extended itself throughout the court. For all that, "he
was master," as Welwood says, "of something in his person and
aspect that commanded both love and admiration at once."

Among his many gifts was that of telling a story well--a rare one
'tis true in all ages. Never was he better pleased than when,
surrounded by a group of gossips, he narrated some anecdote of
which he was the hero; and, though his tales were more than twice
told, they were far from tedious; inasmuch as, being set forth
with brighter flashes of wit and keener touches of irony, they
were ever pleasant to hear. His conversation was of a like
complexion to his tales, pointed, shrewd, and humorous;
frequently--as became the manner of the times--straying far
afield of propriety, and taking liberties of expression of which
nice judgments could not approve. But indeed his majesty's
speech was not more free than his conduct was licentious. He
could not think, he gravely told Bishop Burnet, "God would make a
man miserable for taking a little pleasure out of the way."
Accordingly he followed the free bent of his desires, and his
whole life was soon devoted to voluptuousness; a vice which an
ingenious courtier obligingly describes as a "warmth and
sweetness of the blood that would not be confined in the
communicating itself--an overflowing of good nature, of which he
had such a stream that it would not be restrained within the
banks of a crabbed and unsociable virtue."

The ease and freedom of his continental life had no doubt
fostered this lamentable depravity; for his misfortunes as an
exiled king by no means prevented him following his inclinations
as an ardent lover. Accordingly, his intrigues at that time were
numerous, as may be judged from the fact of Lady Byron being
described as "his seventeenth mistress abroad." The offspring of
one of his continental mistresses was destined to plunge the
English nation into civil warfare, and to suffer a traitor's
death on Tower Hill in the succeeding reign.

"The profligacy which Charles practised abroad not being
discontinued at home, he resumed in England an intrigue commenced
at Brussels a short time before the restoration. The object of
this amour was the beautiful Barbara Palmer, afterwards, by
reason of her lack of virtue, raised to the peerage under the
titles of Countess of Castlemaine, and Duchess of Cleveland.
This lady, who became a most prominent figure in the court of the
merry monarch, was daughter of William, second Viscount
Grandison, a brave gentleman and a loyal, who had early in life
fallen in the civil war whilst fighting for his king. He is
described as having, among other gifts, "a faultless person," a
boon, which descended to his only child, the bewitching Barbara.
In the earliest dawn of her womanhood she encountered her first
lover in the person of Philip Stanhope, second Earl of
Chesterfield. My lord was at this time a youthful widower, and
is described as having "a very agreeable face, a fine head of
hair, an indifferent shape, and a pleasant wit. He was,
moreover, an elegant beau and a dissolute man--testimony of which
latter fact may be gathered from a letter written to him in 1658,
by his sister-in-law, Lady Essex, to prevent the "ruin of his
soule." Writes her ladyship: "You treate all the mad drinking
lords, you sweare, you game, and commit all the extravagances
that are insident to untamed youths, to such a degree that you
make yourselfe the talke of all places, and the wonder of those
who thought otherwise of you, and of all sober people."

When Barbara was sixteen, my lord, then in his twenty-third year,
inherited the title and estates of his grandfather: he therefore
became master of his own fortune and could bestow his hand where
he pleased. That he was in love with Barbara is, indeed, most
true; but that his passion was dishonourable is likewise certain:
for though he wrote her letters full of tenderness, and kept
assignations with her at Butler's shop, on Ludgate Hill, he was
the while negotiating a marriage with one Mrs. Fairfax, to whom
he was not, however, united. His intrigue with Barbara continued
for upwards of three years, when it was temporarily suspended by
her marriage to one Roger Palmer, a student of the Inner Temple,
the son of a Middlesex knight, and, moreover, a man of the most
obliging temper, as will hereafter be seen. Barbara's loyalty to
her husband was but of short duration. Before she had been nine
months a wife, we find her writing to her old lover she is "ready
and willing to goe all over the world" with him--a sacrifice he
declined to accept! though eager to take advantage of the
affection which prompted it. A little while later he was obliged
to quit England; for it happened in the first month of the year
1660 he quarrelled with and killed one Francis Woolley, a student
at law, to avoid the consequences of which act he speedily fled
the country.

Arriving at Calais, he wrote to King Charles, who was then
preparing to return, throwing himself on his mercy, and
beseeching his pardon; which the king granting, Lord Chesterfield
sought his majesty at Brussels. Soon afterwards Barbara Palmer
and her complaisant husband, a right loyal man, joined the king's
court abroad, when the intrigue begun which was continued on the
night of the monarch's arrival in London. True the loyal
PARLIAMENTARY INTELLIGENCER stated "his majesty was diverted from
his pious intention of going to Westminster to offer up his
devotions of prayer and praise in publick according to the
appointment of his Majesty, and made his oblations unto God in
the presence-chamber;" but it is, alas, equally certain,
according to Oldmixon, Lord Dartmouth, and other reliable
authorities, he spent the first night of his return in the
company of Barbara Palmer. From that time this abandoned woman
exercised an influence over the king which wholly disgraced his
court, and almost ruined his kingdom.

Another prominent figure, whose history is inseparable from the
king's, was that of his majesty's brother, James, Duke of York--a
man of greater ambition and lesser talents than the merry
monarch, but one whose amorous disposition equalled the monarch's
withal. At an early period of his life the Duke of York was
witness of the strife which divided his unhappy father's kingdom.
When only eight years old he was sent for by Charles I. to York,
but was forbidden by the Parliament to leave St. James's Palace.
Despite its commands he was, however, carried to the king by the
gallant Marquis of Hereford. That same year the boy witnessed
the refusal of Sir John Hotham, Governor of Hull, to admit his
majesty within the gates; and James was subsequently present at
the siege of Bristol, and the famous battle of Edgehill, when his
life at one period of the engagement was in imminent peril.

Until 1646 he continued under the guardianship of his father,
when, on the entrance of Fairfax into Oxford, the young duke was
found among the prisoners, and by Cromwell's orders committed to
the charge of Sir George Ratcliffe. A few months later he was
removed to St. James's Palace, when in company with his brother,
the Duke of Gloucester, and his sister, the Princess Elizabeth,
he was placed under the care of Lord Northumberland, who had
joined the Republican cause.

Though by no means treated with unkindness, the young duke,
unhappy at the surveillance placed upon his actions and fearful
of the troubles quickly gathering over the kingdom, twice sought
escape. This was a serious offence in the eyes of Cromwell's
Parliament; a committee was accordingly sent to examine him, and
he was threatened with imprisonment in the Tower. Though only in
his fourteenth year he already possessed both determination and
courage, by reason of which he resolved to risk all danger, and
make a third effort for freedom. Accordingly he laid his plans
with much ingenuity, selecting two men from those around him to
aid his undertaking. These were George Howard and Colonel
Bamfield. The latter had once served in the king's army, but
when the fortunes of war had gone against his royal master, had
professed himself friendly to the Republicans. No doubt the
young duke saw the gallant colonel was still true at heart to the
Royalist cause, and therefore trusted him at this critical

Now for a fortnight previous to the night on which he designed to
escape, James made it his habit to play at hide-and-seek every
evening after supper with his brother and sister, and the
children of the officers then located in the palace; and in such
secure places did he secrete himself that his companions
frequently searched for over half an hour without discovering
him. This of course accustomed the household to miss him, and
was cunningly practised for the purpose of gaining time on his
pursuers when he came to be sought for in good earnest.

At last the eventful night fixed for his escape arrived; and
after supper a pleasant group of merry children prepared to
divert themselves in the long dark halls and narrow winding
passages of the grim old palace. James, as usual, proposed
concealing himself, and leaving his companions for the purpose,
disappeared behind some arras; but, instead of hiding, he
hastened to his sister's chamber, where he locked up a favourite
dog that was in the habit of following his footsteps wherever he
went, and then noiselessly slipped down a back stairs which led
to an inner garden. Having taken care to provide himself with a
key fitting the garden door, he quickly slipped into the park.
Here he found Colonel Bamfield waiting, who, giving him a cloak
and a wig for his better disguise, hurried him into a hackney
coach, which drove them as far as Salisbury House in the Strand.
From thence they went through Spring Garden, and down Ivy Lane,
when, taking boat, they landed close by London Bridge. Here
entering the house of a surgeon friendly to their adventure, they
found a woman named Murray awaiting them, who immediately
provided a suit of woman's wearing apparel for the young duke, in
which she helped to attire him. Dressed in this costume he,
attended by the faithful Bamfield, hastened to Lion Quay, where
they entered a barge hired for their conveyance to a Dutch
frigate stationed beyond Gravesend.

Meanwhile, the children not being able to discover their
playfellow in the palace, their elders became suspicious of the
duke's escape, and began to aid the search. Before an hour
elapsed they were convinced he had fled, and St. James's was
thrown into a state of the utmost excitement and confusion.
Notice of his flight was at once despatched to General Fairfax at
Whitehall, who immediately gave orders have all the roads from
London guarded, especially those leading to the north; for it was
surmised he would in the first instance seek to escape into
Wales. The duke, however, had taken a safer course, but one
which was not unattended by danger. He had not sailed far in the
barge when its master became suspicious that he was aiding the
escape of some persons of consequence, and became frightened lest
he should get into trouble by rendering them his services. And
presently his surmise was converted into certainty; for looking
through a cranny of the barge-room door, he saw the young woman
fling her leg on the table and pull up her stocking in a most
unmaidenly manner. He therefore at once peremptorily declared to
Colonel Bamfield they must land at Gravesend, and procure another
boat to carry them to the ship; for it would be impossible for
the barge to pass the block-house lower down without being
observed, and consequently inspected, as was the custom at this
troubled time. On hearing which Colonel Bamfield was filled with
dismay; but, knowing that at heart the people were loyal towards
the Stuarts, he confided the identity of his passenger, and
begged him not to betray them in this hour of peril. To give his
appeal further weight, he promised the fellow a considerable sum
if they safely reached the frigate; for human nature is weak, and
greed of gold is strong. On this, the bargee, who was a loyal
man, promised he would help them to the best of his powers; the
lights were therefore extinguished, the oars drawn in, and, the
tide fortunately answering, the barge glided noiselessly down
under cover of night, and passed the block-house unobserved. In
good time they reached the frigate, which, the duke and Colonel
Bamfield boarding, at once set sail, and in a few days landed
them at Middleburgh. James proceeded to the court of his sister,
the Princess of Orange, and later on joined his mother in France.

At the age of twenty he served in the French army, under Turenne,
against the Spanish forces in Flanders, and subsequently in
several campaigns, where he invariably showed himself so brave
and valiant that the Prince de Conde declared that if ever there
was a man without fear, it was James, Duke of York. Now it
happened that in 1658 the Princess of Orange went to Paris in
order to visit the queen mother, as the widow of Charles I. was
called. The Duke of York was in the gay capital at this time,
and it soon became noticed that he fixed his attention overmuch
on one of his sister's maids of honour, Anne Hyde. This
gentlewoman, then in her twenty-first year, was the possessor of
a comely countenance, excellent shape, and much wit. Anne was
daughter of Edward Hyde, a worthy man, who had been bred to the
law, and proved himself so faithful a servant to Charles I., that
his majesty had made him Privy Councillor and Chancellor of the
Exchequer. After the king's execution, in 1649, the chancellor
thought it wise for himself and his family to seek refuge in
exile, and accordingly joined Charles II., with whom he lived in
the closest friendship, and for whose return he subsequently
negotiated with General Monk.

Now James, after his fashion, made love to Mistress Hyde, who
encouraged his advances until they reached a certain stage,
beyond which the judicious maiden forbade them to proceed unless
blessed by the sanction of holy church. The Duke, impatient to
secure his happiness, was therefore secretly united to Mistress
Hyde in the bonds of matrimony on the 24th of November, in the
year of grace 1659, at Breda, to which place the Princess of
Orange had returned. In a little while, the restoration being
effected, the duke returned to England with the king, leaving his
bride behind. And Chancellor Hyde being presently re-established
in his offices, and settled in his residence at Worcester House
in the Strand, sent for his wife and children; the more speedily
as he had received an overture from a noble family, on behalf of
"a hopeful, well-bred young gentleman," who expressed himself
anxious to wed with Mistress Anne.

The same young lady had not long returned, when she informed her
husband she was about to become a mother; whereon the duke,
seeking the king, fell upon his knees before him, laid bare his
secret, and besought him to sanction his union, "that he might
publicly marry in such a manner as his majesty thought necessary
for the consequence thereof;" adding that, if consent were
refused, he would "immediately take leave of the kingdom and
spend his life in foreign parts." King Charles was astonished
and perplexed by this confession. James was heir, and as such it
behoved him to wed with one suited, by reason of her lineage, to
support the dignity of the crown, and calculated by her relation
towards foreign powers to strengthen the influence of the throne.
The duke was fully aware of this, and, moreover, knew he could
without much difficulty have his marriage annulled; but that he
did not adopt this course was an honourable trait in his
character; and, indeed, his conduct and that of the king was most
creditable throughout the transactions which followed; an account
of which is set forth with great minuteness in the "Continuation
of Edward Hyde, Lord Clarendon's Life."

Without the advice of his council, the king could give no
satisfactory reply to his brother. He therefore summoned two of
his trusty friends, the Marquis of Ormond and the Earl of
Southampton, whom he informed of the duke's marriage, requesting
them to communicate the same to the chancellor, and return with
him for private consultation. The good man's surprise at this
news concerning his daughter was, according to his own account,
exceeding great, and was only equalled by his vast indignation.
His loyalty towards the royal family was so fervent that it
overlooked his affection to his child. He therefore fell into a
violent passion, protested against her wicked presumption, and
advised that the king "should immediately cause the woman to be
sent to the Tower, and to be cast into a dungeon, under so strict
a guard that no person should be admitted to come to her; and
then that an act of parliament should be immediately passed for
the cutting off her head, to which he would not only give his
consent, but would very willingly be the first man that should
propose it." All this he presently repeated to the king, and
moreover, assured him an example of the highest severity, in a
case so nearly concerning himself, would serve as a warning that
others might take heed of offences committed against his regal

News of this marriage spread throughout the court with rapidity,
and caused the utmost excitement; which in a little while was
somewhat abated by the announcement that the king's youngest
brother, Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was taken ill of small-pox.
This young prince, who is described as "a pretty boy," possessed
parts which bade fair to surpass his brothers. He was indeed
associated by his family with their tenderest memories, inasmuch
as he had been with his father on the sad day previous to his
execution. On that melancholy occasion, Charles I. had taken him
upon his knee, and said to him very tenderly, "Sweetheart, they
will cut off thy father's head," at which the boy shuddered and
turned pale. "Mark, child, what I say," continued the unhappy
king, "they will cut off my head, and, perhaps, make thee a king;
but mark what I say, you must not be made king as long as your
brothers Charles and James are alive, for they will cut off thy
brothers' heads when they catch them, and cut off thy head at
last; and therefore I charge you not to be made a king by them."
To which the lad replied very earnestly) "I will be torn in
pieces first." Sometime after the death of his father he was
allowed to join his family in France, and, like his brother
James, entered the army of that country. On the restoration, he
had returned with the king, and, three months later, this "prince
of very extraordinary hopes" died, grievously lamented by the
court, and especially by his majesty, who declared he felt this
loss more than any other which had previously fallen upon him.

Scarcely had he been laid to rest in the vault containing the
dust of Mary Queen of Scots and Lady Arabella Stuart, when the
Princess of Orange arrived in England to pay the king a visit of
ceremony. No sooner was she settled at court, than rumour of her
brother's marriage reached her; on which she became outrageous;
but her wrath was far exceeded by that of the queen mother, who,
on hearing the news, wrote to the duke expressing her indignation
"that he should have such low thoughts as to marry such a woman."
The epistle containing this sentence was at once shown by James
to his wife, whom he continually saw and spent much time with,
unknown to her father, who had given orders she should keep her
chamber. Parliament now sat, but no mention was made of the
duke's marriage by either House; and, inasmuch as the union so
nearly concerned the nation, this silence caused considerable
surprise. It was surmised the delay was made in deference to the
feelings of the queen mother, who at this juncture set out for
England, to prevent what she was pleased to term "so great a
stain and dishonour to the crown." The king regarded his
brother's alliance in a lenient spirit, and not only spoke of it
frequently before the court, but expressed his desire of bringing
the indiscretion to a, happy conclusion by a public

The queen mother, being an ambitious woman, had cherished certain
schemes for extending the power of her family by the respective
marriages of her sons, which the duke's union was, of course,
calculated to curtail. She therefore regarded his wife with the
bitterest disdain. Whenever that woman should be brought into
Whitehall by one door, her majesty declared she would leave it by
another and never enter it again. The marriage was rendered all
the more disagreeable to the queen, because the object of her
son's choice was daughter of the lord chancellor, whose influence
over Charles II. had frequently opposed her plans in the past,
and threatened to prevent their realization in the future. The
monarch, however, paid little attention to his mother's
indignation. He was resolved no disgrace which he could hinder
should fall upon the family of one who had served him with
disinterested loyalty; and, by way of proving his friendship
towards the chancellor on the present occasion, he, before
setting out to meet his mother on her arrival at Dover, presented
him with twenty thousand pounds, and left a signed warrant for
creating him a baron, which he desired the attorney-general to
have ready to pass the seals at his return.

In the meantime a wicked plot, for the purpose of lessening
James's affection for his wife, and ultimately preventing the
acknowledgment of his marriage, was promoted by the chancellor's
enemies and the duke's friends, principal amongst whom were the
Princess of Orange and Sir Charles Berkley, "a fellow of great
wickedness," Sir Charles was his royal highness's most trusted
friend, and was, moreover, devoted to the service of the princess
and her mother. He therefore determined to hinder the duke from
taking a step which he was of opinion would injure him
irretrievably. Accordingly, when James spoke in confidence
concerning his marriage, Sir Charles told him it was wholly
invalid, inasmuch as it had taken place without the king's
consent; and that a union with the daughter of an insignificant
lawyer was not to be thought of by the heir to the crown.
Moreover, he hinted he could a tale unfold regarding her
behaviour. At this the duke became impatient to hear what his
good friend had to say; whereon that valiant gentleman boasted,
with an air of bravery and truth, of certain gallantries which
had passed between him and the lady. On hearing this, James,
being credulous was sorely depressed. He ceased to visit his
wife, withdrew from general company; and so well did Sir
Charles's scheme succeed, that before the queen's arrival, the
duke had decided on denying his marriage with one who had brought
him dishonour. The king, however, put no faith in these
aspersions; he felt sure "there was a wicked conspiracy set on
foot by villains."

It therefore happened the queen was spared the trouble she had
anticipated with her son; indeed, he humbly begged her pardon for
"having placed his affections so unequally, of which he was sure
there was now an end"--a confession most gratifying to her
majesty. The duke's bitter depression continued, and was soon
increased by the death of his sister, the Princess of Orange,
which was occasioned by smallpox on the 23rd of December, 1660.
In her last agonies Lord Clarendon says "she expressed a dislike
of the proceedings in that affair, to which she had contributed
too much." This fact, together with his royal highness's
unhappiness, had due weight on Sir Charles Berkley, who began to
repent of the calumnies he had spoken. Accordingly, the "lewd
informer" went to the duke, and sought to repair the evil he had
wrought. Believing, he said, such a marriage would be the
absolute ruin of his royal highness, he had made the accusation
which he now confessed to be false, and without the least ground;
for he was very confident of the lady's honour and virtue. He
then begged pardon on his knees for a fault committed out of pure
devotion, and trusted the duke would "not suffer him to be ruined
by the power of those whom he had so unworthily provoked, and of
which he had so much shame that he had not confidence to look
upon them."

James was so much relieved by what he heard that he not only
forgave Sir Charles, but embraced him, and promised him
protection. Nor did his royal highness longer withhold the
reparation due to his wife, who, with the approval of the king
and the reluctant consent of the queen, was received at court as
Duchess of York. Such was the romance connected with the
marriage of her who became mother of two English queens--Mary,
wife of William of Orange, and Anne, of pious memory.


Morality of the Restoration.--Puritan piety.--Conduct of women
under the Republic.--Some notable courtiers.--The Duke of Ormond
and his family.--Lord St. Albans and Henry Jermyn.--His Grace of
Buckingham and Mistress Fairfax.--Lord Rochester.--Beautiful
Barbara Palmer.--The King's Projected marriage.--Catherine of
Braganza.--His Majesty's speech.--A Royal love-letter.--The new
Queen sets sail.

A general idea obtains that the libertine example set forth by
Charles II. and his courtiers is wholly to blame for the spirit
of depravity which marked his reign. That it was in part
answerable for the spread of immorality is true, inasmuch as the
royalists, considering sufficient aversion could not be shown to
the loathsome hypocrisy of the puritans, therefore fell into an
opposite extreme of ostentatious profligacy. But that the court
was entirely responsible for the vice tainting all classes of
society whilst the merry monarch occupied the throne, is false.

Other causes had long been tending to produce this unhappy
effect. The reign of the Commonwealth had not been, remarkable
for its virtue, though it had been notable for its pharisaism.
With the puritan, words of piety took place of deeds of grace;
the basest passions were often hidden under sanctimonious
exteriors. Even Cromwell, "a man of long and dark discourses,
sermons, and prayers," was not above reproach. Bishop Burnet,
who has no harsh words for him, and few gentle ones for Charles,
states the Protector's intrigue with Lady Dysart was "not a
little taken notice of;" on which, the godly man "broke it off."
He therefore, Heath records, began an amour with a lady of lesser
note--Mrs. Lambert, the wife of a puritan, herself a lady devoted
to psalm singing and audible prayer when, not otherwise
pleasantly engaged.

The general character of many news-sheets of the day proves that
morality under the Republic was at a low ebb. Anarchy in a
kingdom invariably favours dissoluteness in a people, inasmuch as
the disturbance of civil order tends to unsettle moral law.
Homes being divided amongst themselves by political strife,
paternal care was suspended, and filial respect ignored. In the
general confusion which obtained, the distinction of social codes
was overlooked. Lord Clarendon states that; during this unhappy
period, young people of either sex were "educated in all the
liberty of vice, without reprehension or restraint." He adds,
"The young women conversed without any circumspection or modesty,
and frequently met at taverns and common eating-houses." An
additional description of the ways and manners of young maidens
under the Republic is given in a rare and curious pamphlet
entitled "A Character of England as it was lately presented in a
Letter to a Nobleman of France"; printed in the year 1659, for
Jo. Crooke, and sold at the Ship in St. Paul's Yard. Having
spoken of taverns where "fury and intemperance" reign, and where,
"that nothing may be wanting to the height of luxury and impiety,
organs have been translated out of the churches for the purpose
of chanting their dithyrambics and bestiall bacchanalias to the
tune of those instruments which were wont to assist them in the
celebration of God's praises," the writer continues: "Your
lordship will scarce believe me that the ladies of greatest
quality suffer themselves to be treated in one of those taverns,
where a curtezan in other cities would scarcely vouchsafe to be
entertained; but you will be more astonish't when I shall assure
you that they drink their crowned cups roundly, strain healths
through their smocks, daunce after the fiddle, kiss freely, and
tearm it an honourable treat." He furthermore says they were to
be found until midnight in company with their lovers at Spring
Garden, which seemed to be "contrived to all the advantages of
gallantry." From which evidences it may be gathered, that London
under the Commonwealth was little less vicious than under the
merry monarch.

The court Charles speedily gathered round him on his restoration
was the most brilliant the nation had ever witnessed. Those of
birth and distinction who had sought refuge abroad during the
late troubles, now joyfully returned: whilst the juvenile
branches of noble families living in retirement in England, to
whom royalty had been a stranger, no less eagerly flocked to the
presence of the gay young king. The wit and politeness of the
men, the grace and beauty of the women, who surrounded Charles
II. have become proverbial; whilst the gallantries of the one,
and the frailties of the other, savour more of romance than

That the condition of the court on its establishment may be
realized, it is necessary, at this stage of its history, to
introduce briefly some of the chief personages who surrounded his
majesty, and occupied prominent attention in the annals of his
reign. Notably amongst them were the gallant Duke of Ormond and
his family. His grace, now in his fiftieth year, was
distinguished for his commanding appearance, gracious manner, and
excellent wit. During the troubles of the civil war, he had
proved himself a most loyal subject, inasmuch as he had vested
his fortune and ventured his person in service of the late king.
Subsequently refusing liberal offers made him by Cromwell, on
condition of living in peaceful retirement, he, after the
execution of Charles I., betook himself to France, and shared
exile with the young king until the restoration. In consequence
of his proven fealty, honours were then deservingly showered upon
him: he was made grand steward of the household, first lord of
the bedchamber, and subsequently lord lieutenant of Ireland. The
duchess, who had participated in her husband's misfortunes with a
courage equal to his own, was a high-minded and most virtuous
lady, who had brought up her family with great care. Scarcely
less distinguished in mien and manner than the duke, were his two
sons, Thomas, Earl of Ossory, and Lord Richard Butler, afterwards
Earl of Arran. My lord of Ossory was no less remarkable for his
beauty than famous for his accomplishments: he rode and played
tennis to perfection, performed upon the lute to entrancement,
and danced to the admiration of the court; he was moreover a good
historian, and well versed in chronicles of romance. No less was
the Earl of Arran proficient in qualifications befitting his
birth, and gifted with attributes aiding his gallantry.

A third member of this noble family played a more remarkable part
in the history of the court during her brief career than either
of her brothers. This was the Lady Elizabeth Butler, eldest
daughter of the duke, who, unfortunately for her own happiness,
married my Lord Chesterfield at the Hague, when, a few months
before the restoration, that nobleman fled to the continent to
escape the consequences of Francis Woolley's murder. In Lely's
picture of the young Countess of Chesterfield, her piquancy
attracts at a glance, whilst her beauty charms on examination.
Her cousin, Anthony Hamilton, describes her as having large blue
eyes, very tempting and alluring, a complexion extremely fair,
and a heart "ever open to tender sentiments," by reason of which
her troubles arose, as shall be set down in proper sequence.

Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Albans, and his nephew, "the little
Jermyn," were also notable as figuring in court intrigues. The
earl was member of the privy council to his majesty, and moreover
held a still closer connection to the queen mother; for,
according to Sir John Reresby, Madame Buviere, and others, her
majesty had privately married his lordship abroad--an act of
condescension he repaid with inhumanity. Madame Buviere says he
never gave the queen a good word; and when she spoke to him he
used to say, "Que me veut cette femme?" The same authority adds,
he treated her majesty in an extremely ill manner, "so that
whilst she had not a faggot to warm herself, he had in his
apartments a good fire and a sumptuous table." [This testimony
concerning the queen's poverty is borne out by Cardinal de Retz.
In his interesting Memoirs he tells of a visit he paid the queen
mother, then an exile in Paris. He found her with her youngest
daughter, Henrietta, in the chamber of the latter. "At my coming
in," says the Cardinal, "she (the queen) said, 'You see, I am come
to keep Henrietta company; the poor child could not rise to-day
for want of a fire.' The truth is, that the Cardinal (Mazarin)
for six months together had not ordered her any money towards her
pension; that no tradespeople would trust her for anything and
there was not at her lodgings a single billet. You will do me
the justice to think that the princess of England did not keep
her bed the next day for want of a faggot. . . Posterity will
hardly believe that a princess of England, grand-daughter to
Henry the Great, hath wanted a faggot in the month of January, in
the Louvre, and in the eyes of the French court."] Pepys records
that the marriage of her majesty to the earl was commonly talked
of at the restoration; and he likewise mentions it was rumoured
"that they had a daughter between them in France. How true," says
this gossip, "God knows."

The earl's nephew, Henry Jermyn, is described as having a big
head and little legs, an affected carriage, and a wit consisting
"in expressions learned by rote, which he occasionally employed
either in raillery or love." For all that, he being a man of
amorous disposition, the number of his intrigues was no less
remarkable than the rank of those who shared them. Most notable
amongst his conquests was the king's eldest sister, widow of the
Prince of Orange--a lady possessing in no small degree natural
affections for which her illustrious family were notorious.
During the exile of Charles II., Henry Jermyn had made a
considerable figure at her court in Holland by reason of the
splendour of his equipage, entirely supported by his uncle's
wealth; he had likewise made a forcible impression on her heart
by virtue of the ardour of his addresses, wholly sustained by his
own effrontery. The effect of his presence on the princess soon
became visible to the court. Rumour whispered that as Lord St.
Albans had already made an alliance with royalty, his nephew had
likewise followed his example; but scandal declared that young
Jermyn and the princess had omitted the ceremony which should
have sanctioned their happiness. The reputation of such an amour
gained him the immediate attention of many women, whose interest
in his character increased with the knowledge of his abilities,
and helped to associate him in their memories with tenderest

Another figure prominent in this gay and goodly assembly was
George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham. The faultless beauty
of his face, and graceful symmetry of his figure, would have
rendered him distinguished in a court less sensuously
impressionable to physical perfection, even if his talents had
not dazzled, and his wit amused. On the death of the first Duke
of Buckingham, "styled the handsomest bodied man in England," the
late king of pious memory undertook the charge of the young duke,
and had him educated with his own sons. Subsequently he was sent
to Cambridge, and then travelled into France, the better to
acquire that polish of manner and grace of bearing for which he
became distinguished. But, whilst abroad, word was brought him
of the distress of his master, the king; on which the young duke
hastened back into England, became a cavalier, and fought his
majesty's battles with great gallantry. Soon after Charles I.
had been beheaded, his faithful servitor went abroad; but being
loyal to the Stuart cause, he journeyed with Charles II. to
Scotland, and afterwards fought beside him in the bloody battle
of Worcester. Whilst the monarch was hiding in Boscobel Wood,
the duke betook himself to London, where, donning a wizard's
mask, a jack-pudding coat, a hat adorned with a fox's tail and
cock's feathers, he masqueraded as a mountebank, and discoursed
diverting nonsense from a stage erected at Charing Cross. After
running several risks, he escaped to France. But alas for the
duke, who was born as Madame Dunois avows, doubtless from
experience--"for gallantry and magnificence," he was now
penniless, his great estates being confiscated by Cromwell.
However, conceiving a scheme that might secure him part of his
fortune, he hastened to put it into execution.

It happened that my Lord Fairfax, one of Cromwell's great
generals, had allotted to him by the Protector a portion of the
Buckingham estates that returned five thousand pounds a year.
The general was, moreover, placed in possession of York House,
which had likewise belonged to his grace.

Now it happened Lord Fairfax, a generous-tempered man and brave
soldier, had an only child, a daughter destined to become his
heiress; aware of which the duke resolved to marry her, that he
might in this manner recover portion of his estate. The fact of
the lady never having seen him did not interfere with his plans;
that she would reject his suit seemed an impossibility; that she
would succumb to the fascination he invariably exercised over
woman was a certainty. Nor did it matter that Mistress Fairfax
was no beauty; for the duke, being grateful for past favours
liberally bestowed by the opposite sex, had no intention of
becoming under any circumstances churlish enough to limit his
devotion to one lady, though she were his wife.

Carefully disguising himself, he journeyed to London, where he
was met by a faithful friend, who promised he would aid him in
winning Mistress Fairfax, towards which end he promptly
introduced the duke to that estimable gentlewoman. Having once
obtained speech of her, the remainder of his scheme was
comparatively easy of accomplishment. She loved the gay and
graceful gallant at first sight, and through years of bitter
wrong and cruel neglect continued his faithful and devoted slave.

Though she had become clandestinely acquainted with him, she was
too good a daughter to wed without her father's consent. But
this she had not much difficulty in obtaining. Though Lord
Fairfax had fought against his king, he was not sufficiently
republican to scorn alliance with nobility, nor so thoroughly
puritan as to disdain connection with the ungodly. Accordingly
he gave his sanction to the union, which was celebrated at his
mansion at Nun Appleton, within six miles of York. Now, my Lord
Fairfax had not consulted Cromwell's goodwill concerning this
alliance, the news of which reaching the Protector in due time,
made him exceedingly wroth. For he had daughters to marry, and,
that he might strengthen his power, was desirous of wedding them
to scions of nobility; Buckingham being one of those whom he had
mentally selected to become a member of his family. His anger
was therefore at once directed against Fairfax and his grace.
The former he could not molest, but the latter he committed to
the Tower; and if the great Protector had not been soon after
seized by fatal illness, the duke would have made his last
journey from thence to Tower Hill. As it fell out he remained a
prisoner until within a year of the coming of Charles, whom he
welcomed with exceeding joy. Being bred with the merry monarch,
he had from boyhood been a favourite of his majesty, with whom he
shared a common love for diversion. He was, therefore, from the
first a prominent figure at Whitehall; his handsome person and
extravagant dress adorned the court; his brilliant wit and
poignant satire amused the royal circle.

His grace, however, had a rival, the vivacity of whose temper and
piquancy of whose humour went far to eclipse Buckingham's talent
in these directions. This was the young Earl of Rochester, son
of my Lord Wilmot, who had so successfully aided the king's
escape after the battle of Worcester, for which service he had
been created Earl of Rochester by Charles in Paris. That worthy
man dying just a year previous to the restoration, his son
succeeded to his titles, and likewise to an estate which had been
preserved for him by the prudence of his mother. Even in his
young days Lord Rochester gave evidence of possessing a lively
wit and remarkable genius, which were cultivated by his studies
at Oxford and his travels abroad. So that at the age of
eighteen, when he returned to England and presented himself at
Whitehall, his sprightly parts won him the admiration of
courtiers and secured him the favour of royalty. Nor was the
young earl less distinguished by his wit and learning than by his
face and figure; the delicate beauty of his features and natural
grace of his person won him the love of many women, whom the
tenderness of his heart and generosity of his youth did not
permit him to leave unrequited.

Soon surfeited by his conquests in the drawing-room, he was
anxious to extend his triumphs in another direction; and,
selecting the sea as a scene of action, he volunteered to sail
under my Lord Sandwich in quest of the Dutch East Indian fleet.
At the engagements to which this led he exhibited a dauntless
courage that earned him renown abroad, and covered him with
honour on his return to court. From that time he, for many
years, surrendered himself to a career of dissipation, often
abandoning the paths of decency and decorum, pursuing vice in its
most daring and eccentric fashion, employing his genius in the
composition of lampoons which spared not even the king, and in
the writing of ribald verses, the very names of which are not
proper to indite. Lord Orford speaks of him as a man "whom the
muses were fond to inspire, and ashamed to avow; and who
practised, without the least reserve, that secret which can make
verses more read for their defects than for their merits." More
of my Lord Rochester and his poems anon.

Thomas Killigrew, another courtier, was a poet, dramatist, and
man of excellent wit. He had been page in the service of his
late majesty, and had shared exile with the present monarch, to
whose pleasures abroad and at home he was ever ready to pander.
At the restoration he was appointed a groom of the bedchamber,
and, moreover, was made master of the revels--an office eminently
suited to his tastes, and well fitted to exercise his capacities.
His ready wit amused the king so much, that he was occasionally
led to freedoms of speech which taxed his majesty's good-nature.
His escapades diverted the court to such an extent, that he
frequently took the liberty of affording it entertainment at the
expense of its reputation. The "beau Sidney," a man "of sweet
and caressing temper," handsome appearance, and amorous
disposition; Sir George Etherege, a wit and a playwright; and
Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset, a poet and man of sprightly
speech, were likewise courtiers of note.

Among such congenial companions the merry monarch abandoned
himself wholly to the pursuit of pleasure, and openly carried on
his intrigue with Barbara Palmer. According to the testimony of
her contemporaries, she was a woman of surpassing loveliness and
violent passions. Gilbert Burnet, whilst admitting her beauty,
proclaims her defects. She was, he relates, "most enormously
vicious and ravenous, foolish but imperious, very uneasy to the
king, and always carrying on intrigues with other men, while she
yet pretended she was jealous of him." Pepys testifies likewise
to her physical attractions so long as she reigned paramount in
the king's affections; but when another woman, no less fair, came
betwixt my lady and his majesty's favour, Mr. Pepys, being a
loyal man and a frail, found greater beauty in the new love,
whose charms he avowed surpassed the old. To his most
interesting diary posterity is indebted for glimpses of the
manner in which the merry monarch and his mistress behaved
themselves during the first months of the restoration. Now he
tells of "great doings of musique," which were going on at Madame
Palmer's house, situated in the Strand, next Earl Sandwich's, and
of the king and the duke being with that lady: again, in the
Chapel Royal, Whitehall, he observed, whilst Dr. Herbert Croft
prayed and preached,"how the Duke of York and Mrs. Palmer did
talk to one another very wantonly through the hangings that part
the king's closet and the closet where the ladies sit." And
later on, when he witnessed "The Humorous Lieutenant" performed
before the court, he noted the royal favourite was likewise
present, "with whom the king do discover a great deal of

Presently, in February, 1661, exactly nine months after his
majesty's return, Mrs. Palmer gave birth to a daughter. To the
vast amusement of the court, no less than three men claimed the
privilege of being considered father of this infant. One of
these was my Lord Chesterfield, whom the child grew to resemble
in face and person; the second was Roger Palmer, who left her his
estate; the third was King Charles, who had her baptized Anne
Palmer Fitzroy, adopted her as his daughter, and eventually
married her to the Earl of Sussex.

Soon after the restoration the subject of his majesty's marriage
was mooted by his councillors, who trusted a happy union would
redeem him from vice, and, by bringing him heirs, help to
establish him more firmly in the affections of his people. The
king lending a willing ear to this advice, the sole difficulty in
carrying it into execution rested in the selection of a bride
congenial to his taste and equal to his sovereignty. King Louis
of France had no sisters, and his nieces had not commended
themselves to the merry monarch's favour during his stay abroad.
Spain had two infantas, but one was wedded to the King of France,
and the other betrothed to the heir of the royal house of
Austria. Germany, of course, had princesses in vast numbers, who
awaited disposal; but when they were proposed to King Charles,
"he put off the discourse with raillery," as Lord Halifax
narrates. "Odd's fish," he would say, shrugging his shoulders
and making a grimace, "I could not marry one of them: they are
all dull and foggy!"

Catherine of Braganza, daughter of Don Juan IV. of Portugal, was
unwedded, and to her Charles ultimately addressed himself.
Alliance with her commended itself to the nation from the fact
that the late king, before the troubled times began, had entered
into a negotiation with Portugal concerning the marriage of this
same infanta and his present majesty; and such was the esteem in
which the memory of Charles I. was now held, that compliance with
his desires was regarded as a sacred obligation. The Portuguese
ambassador assured the merry monarch that the princess, by reason
of her beauty, person, and age, was most suited to him. To
convince him of this, he showed his majesty a portrait of the
lady, which the king examining, declared "that person could not
be unhandsome." The ambassador, who was of a certainty most
anxious for this union, then said it was true the princess was a
catholic, and would never change her faith; but she was free from
"meddling activity;" that she had been reared by a wise mother,
and would only look to the freedom of practising her own religion
without interfering with that of others. Finally, he added that
the princess would have a dowry befitting her high station, of no
less a sum than five hundred thousand pounds sterling in ready

Moreover, by way of addition to this already handsome portion,
the Queen of Portugal was ready to assign over and annex to the
English crown, the Island of Bombay, in the East Indies, and
Tangier on the African coast--a place of strength and importance,
which would be of great benefit and security to British commerce.
Nor was this all. Portugal was likewise willing to grant England
free trade in Brazil and the East Indies, a privilege heretofore
denied all other countries. This was indeed a dower which none
of the "dull and foggy" German princesses could bring the crown.
The prospect of obtaining so much ready money especially
commended the alliance to the extravagant taste of his majesty,
who had this year complained to Parliament of his poverty, by
reason of which he "was so much grieved to see many of his
friends come to him at Whitehall, and to think they were obliged
to go somewhere else for a dinner."

The merry monarch was therefore well pleased at the prospect of
his union, as were likewise the chancellor and four or five
"competent considerers of such an affair" whom he consulted.
These worthy counsellors and men of sage repute, who included in
their number the Duke of Ormond and Sir Edward Nicholas,
Secretary of State, the Earl of Manchester, and the Earl of
Southampton, after regretting it was not agreeable to his majesty
to select a queen who professed the protestant religion, gave it
as their opinion there was no catholic princess in Europe whom
he, with so much reason and advantage, could marry as the infanta
of Portugal. They, moreover, added that the sum promised as part
of her portion, setting aside the places, "was much greater--
almost double to what any king had ever received in money by any
marriage." The council, therefore, without a dissenting voice,
advised him to the marriage.

On the 8th of May, 1661, his majesty, being clad in robes of
state, and wearing the crown, rode in great pomp to open
Parliament, which he addressed from the throne. In the course of
his speech, he announced his approaching marriage in a singularly
characteristic address. "I will not conclude without telling you
some news," he said, "news that I think will be very acceptable
to you, and therefore I should think myself unkind, and ill-
natured if I did not impart it to you. I have been put in mind
by my friends that it was now time to marry, and I have thought
so myself ever since I came into England. But there appeared
difficulties enough in the choice, though many overtures have
been made to me; and if I should never marry until I could make
such a choice against which there could be no foresight of any
inconvenience that may ensue, you would live to see me an old
bachelor, which I think you do not desire to do. I can now tell
you, not only that I am resolved to marry, but with whom I am
resolved to marry. If God please, it is with the daughter of
Portugal. And I will make all the haste I can to fetch you a
queen hither, who, I doubt not, will bring great blessings with
her to me and you."

Next day addresses of congratulation were presented to his
majesty by both Houses. This gratifying news was made known to
the Portuguese ambassador, Count da Ponte, by the lord high
chancellor, who visited his excellency for the purpose, attended
by state befitting such a great and joyful occasion; two
gentlemen preceded him, bearing respectively a gilded mace and a
crimson velvet purse embroidered with the arms of Great Britain,
and many others following him to the ambassador's residence. A
month later, the marriage articles were signed; the new queen
being guaranteed the free exercise of her faith, and the sum of
thirty thousand a year during life; whilst the king was assured
possession of her great dowry, together with the territories
already mentioned, one of which, Bombay, ultimately became of
such vast importance to the crown.

Charles then despatched the Portuguese ambassador to Catherine--
from this time styled queen--in order to make arrangements for
her journey into England. Likewise he wrote a letter, remarkable
for the fervour of its sentiments and elegance of its diction,
which da Ponte was commissioned to convey her. This courtly
epistle, addressed by Charles to "The Queen of Great Britain, my
wife and lady, whom God preserve," is dated July 2nd, 1661, and
runs as follows:

"Already, at my request, the good Count da Ponte has set off
for Lisbon; for me the signing of the marriage act has been great
happiness; and there is about to be despatched at this time after
him one of my servants, charged with what would appear necessary,
whereby may be declared, on my part, the inexpressible joy of
this felicitous conclusion, which, when received, will hasten the
coming of your majesty.

"I am going to make a short progress into some of my provinces;
in the meantime, whilst I go from my most sovereign good, yet I
do not complain as to whither I go, seeking in vain tranquillity
in my restlessness; hoping to see the beloved person of your
majesty in these kingdoms already your own, and that with the
same anxiety with which, after my long banishment, I desired to
see myself within them, and my subjects, desiring also to behold
me amongst them, having manifested their most ardent wishes for
my return, well known to the world. The presence of your
serenity is only wanting to unite us, under the protection of
God, in the health and content I desire. I have recommended to
the queen, our lady and mother, the business of the Count da
Ponte, who, I must here avow, has served me in what I regard as
the greatest good in this world, which cannot be mine less than
it is that of your majesty; likewise not forgetting the good
Richard Russell, who laboured on his part to the same end.
[Richard Russell was Bishop of Portalegre, in Portugal, and
Almoner to Catherine of Braganza.]

"The very faithful husband of your majesty, whose hand he kisses,
London, 2nd of July, 1661.

During many succeeding months preparations were made in England
to receive the young Queen. The "Royal Charles," a stately ship
capable of carrying eighty cannon and six hundred men, was
suitably fitted to convey her to England.

The state room and apartments destined for use of the future
bride were furnished and ornamented in most luxuriant manner,
being upholstered in crimson velvet, handsomely carpeted, and
hung with embroideries and taffeties. Lord Sandwich was made
commander of the gallant fleet which in due time accompanied the
"Royal Charles." He was likewise appointed ambassador
extraordinary, and charged with safely conducting the bride unto
her bridegroom.

In due time, my lord, in high spirits, set sail with his gallant
fleet, and on arriving at Portugal was received with every remark
of profound respect, and every sign of extravagant joy. Stately
ceremonies at court and brilliant rejoicings in public made time
speed with breathless rapidity. But at length there came a day
when my Lord Sandwich encountered a difficulty he had not
foreseen. According to instructions, he had taken possession of
Tangier before proceeding for the queen; and he had likewise been
directed to see her dowry put on board one of his ships, before
receiving her on the "Royal Charles."

Now the Queen of Portugal, who acted as regent since the death of
her husband, being strongly desirous of seeing her daughter the
consort of a great sovereign, and of protecting her country from
the tyranny of Spain by an alliance with England, had gathered
the infanta's marriage portion with infinite trouble; which had
necessitated the selling of her majesty's jewels and much of her
plate, and the borrowing of both plate and jewels from churches
and monasteries all over the land. The sums accumulated in this
manner she had carefully stowed away in great sacks; but, alas,
between the date on which the marriage treaty had been signed,
and arrival of the English ambassador to claim the bride, Spain
had made war upon Portugal, and the dowry had to be expended in
arming the country for defence. Therefore, when my Lord Sandwich
mentioned the dowry, her majesty, with keen regrets and infinite
apologies, informed him so great were the straits of poverty to
which her kingdom was reduced, that she could pay only half the
stipulated sum at present, but promised the remaining portion
should be made up the following year. Moreover, the part which
she then asked him to accept was made up of jewels, sugars,
spices and other commodities which she promised to have converted
by arrangement into solid gold in London.

The ambassador was therefore sorely perplexed, and knew not
whether he should return to England without the bride, or take
her and the merchandise which represented half her dowry on board
his ship. He decided on the latter course, and the queen, with
her court and retinue, set sail for merry England on the 23rd of
April, 1662.


The king's intrigue with Barbara Palmer.--The queen arrives at
Portsmouth.--Visited by the Duke of York.--The king leaves town,
--First interview with his bride.--His letter to the lord
chancellor.--Royal marriage and festivities.--Arrival at Hampton
Court Palace.--Prospects of a happy union.--Lady Castlemaine
gives birth to a second child.--The king's infatuation.--Mistress
and wife.--The queen's misery.--The king's cruelty.--Lord
Clarendon's messages.--His majesty resolves to break the queen's
spirit.--End of the domestic quarrel.

Whilst the king conducted the negotiations of his marriage with
Catherine of Braganza, he likewise continued the pursuit of his
intrigue with Barbara Palmer. The unhappy fascination which this
vile woman exercised over his majesty increased with time; and
though his ministers declared a suitable marriage would reform
his ways, his courtiers concluded he had no intention of
abandoning his mistress in favour of his wife. For Barbara
Palmer, dreading the loss of her royal lover and the forfeiture
of wealth accruing from this connection, had firmly bound him in
her toils. Moreover, in order that he might continually abide
under her influence, she conceived a scheme which would of
necessity bring her into constant intercourse with him and the
young queen. She therefore demanded he would appoint her one of
the ladies of the bedchamber to her majesty, to which he,
heedless of the insult this would fix upon his wife, readily

In order to qualify Barbara Palmer for such a position, it was
necessary she should be raised to the peerage. This could only
be accomplished by ennobling her husband, unless public decency
were wholly ignored, and she was created a peeress in her own
right, whilst he remained a commoner. After some faint show of
hesitation, Roger Palmer accepted the honours thrust upon him by
reason of his wife's infamy. On the 11th of December, 1661, he
was created Earl of Castlemaine, and Baron Limerick in the
peerage of Ireland, when the royal favourite became a countess.

And now the merry month of May being arrived, the queen was
speedily expected; and on the night of the 13th joyful tidings
reached London that the "Royal Charles," accompanied by the
fleet, was in sight of Portsmouth. At which news there was great
rejoicing throughout the town, church bells ringing merrily, and
bonfires blazing brightly; but before the Countess of
Castlemaine's house, where the king, according to his custom was
at supper, there was no fire, though such signs of joy burned "at
all the rest of the doors almost in the streets, which was much

Next day the fleet arrived in the harbour of Portsmouth, about
four in the afternoon. Heath says the people gathered to receive
the bride with all possible demonstrations of honour, "the
nobility and gentry and multitudes of Londoners, in most rich
apparel and in great numbers, waiting on the shore for her
landing; and the mayor and aldermen and principal persons of that
corporation being in their gowns, and with a present and a speech
ready to entertain her; the cannon and small shot, both from
round that town and the whole fleet echoing to one another the
loud proclamations of their joy." These good people were,
however, destined to disappointment; for though the bride was
impatient to land, because suffering from prostration consequent
on a rough voyage and severe illness, she was not, in observance
of court etiquette, permitted to leave the ship until the king
arrived. This did not take place until six days later, Charles
being detained in town by reason of some important bills then
passing in Parliament, which it was necessary for him to sign.
He had, however, despatched his royal brother of York, then Lord
High Admiral of England, to meet her at sea, and give her
greeting in his name. Accordingly the duke had encountered the
fleet at the Isle of Wight, and gone on board the queen's ship,
when she received him in her cabin seated under a canopy on a
chair of state. His royal highness expressed his joy at her
arrival, presented "his majesty's high respects and his exceeding
affection for her," and paid her many compliments. Lord
Chesterfield, who had been appointed chamberlain to the queen,
tells us: "Although James, in consequence of his near connection
with the sovereign, might have saluted the royal bride, he did
not avail himself of this privilege, out of a delicate regard to
his majesty's feelings, that he might be the first man to offer
that compliment to his queen; she coming out of a country where
it was not the fashion." The Duke of York presented some
noblemen who had accompanied him; after which she introduced the
members of her suite. The queen and her brother-in-law then held
a conversation in the Spanish language, when James assured her of
his affection, and besought her to accept his services. To these
compliments she replied in like manner, when he arose to depart.
The queen advanced three paces with him, not withstanding that he
protested against such courtesy, bidding her remember her rank.
At this she smiled, and answered with much sweetness, "She wished
to do that out of affection, which she was not obliged to do"--a
reply which made a favourable impression on his mind. Whilst she
continued on board, the duke and his suite visited her daily,
entering freely into conversation with her, and finding her "a
most agreeable lady." Probably at the desire of the king, she
left the ship before his arrival, and was conveyed to his
majesty's house at Portsmouth, where she was received by the
Countess of Suffolk, first lady of the bedchamber, and four other
ladies who had been appointed members of her household. One of
her first requests to these was--as may be learned from a letter
of Lord Sandwich, preserved in the Bodleian library--"that they
would put her in that habit they thought would be most pleasing
to the king." Before leaving the "Royal Charles" she spoke to
all the officers of the ship, thanked them for their services,
and permitted them to kiss her hand. She then presented a collar
of gold to the captain, and gave money to be distributed among
the crew.

When at length the parliamentary business was concluded, the king
found himself in readiness to depart. The last words he
addressed to his faithful commons before starting are worth
recording: "The mention of my wife's arrival," said he, in the
pleasant familiar tone it was his wont to use, "puts me in mind
to desire you to put that compliment upon her, that her entrance
into this town may be made with more decency than the ways will
now suffer it to be; and to that purpose I pray you would quickly
pass such laws as are before you, in order to the mending those
ways, that she may not find Whitehall surrounded with water."

At nine o'clock on the night of the 19th of May, his majesty left
London in Lord Northumberland's carriage, on his way to
Portsmouth. Arriving at Kingston an hour later, he entered Lord
Chesterfield's coach, which awaited him there by appointment, and
drove to Guildford, at which town he slept the night. In the
morning he was up betimes, and posted to Portsmouth, where he
arrived at noon. The queen, being ill of a slight fever, was yet
in bed: but the king, all impatient to see the bride which
heaven had sent him, sought admittance to her chamber. The poor
princess evidently did not look to advantage; for his majesty
told Colonel Legg he thought at first glance "they had brought
him a bat instead of a woman." On further acquaintance, however,
she seemed to have afforded more pleasure to the king's sight,
for the next day he expressed the satisfaction he felt concerning
her, in a letter addressed to the lord chancellor, which is
preserved in the library of the British Museum, and runs as

(Eight in the Morning).

"I arrived here yesterday about two in the afternoon, and, as
soon as I had shifted myself, I went into, my wife's chamber,
whom I found in bed, by reason of a little cough and some
inclination to a fever: but I believe she will find herself very
well in the morning when she wakes. I can now only give you an
account of what I have seen abed, which, in short, is, her face
is not so exact as to be called a beauty, though her eyes are
excellent good, and not anything in her face that in the least
degree can shock one: on the contrary, she hath as much
agreeableness in her looks altogether as ever I saw; and if I
have any skill in physiognomy, which I think I have, she must be
as good a woman as ever was born. Her conversation, as much as I
can perceive, is very good, for she has wit enough, and a most
agreeable voice. You would wonder to see how well acquainted we
are already. In a word, I think myself very happy; for I am
confident our two humours will agree very well together. I have
no more to say: my Lord Lieutenant will give you an account of
the rest."

The king was attended by Lord Sandwich during this interview, and
his lordship, in a letter addressed to the lord chancellor,
informed him the meeting between his majesty and the infanta.
"hath been with much contentment on both sides, and that we are
like to be very happy in their conjunction." Next morning the
Countess of Suffolk, and other ladies appointed to wait upon the
bride, dressed her according to the English fashion, in "a habit
they thought would be most pleasing to the king," in which she
was married. The ceremony was first performed according to the
rites of the Catholic Church, by the Rev. Lord Aubigny, brother
to the Duke of Richmond, in the queen's bedchamber; that
apartment being selected for the purpose, as affording a privacy
necessary to be maintained, by reason of the prejudice then
existing towards Catholicism. There were present the Duke of
York, Philip, afterwards Cardinal Howard, and five Portuguese,
all of whom were bound over to keep the strictest secrecy
concerning what they witnessed. Later in the day, Dr. Sheldon,
Bishop of London, married their majesties according to the form
prescribed by the Church of England. The latter ceremony took
place in the presence chamber. A rail divided the apartment, at
the upper part of which the king and queen, the bishops, the
Spanish Ambassador, and Sir Richard Fanshaw stood; the lower
portion being crowded by the court. When Dr. Sheldon had
declared their majesties married, the Countess of Suffolk,
according to a custom of the time, detached the ribbons from the
bride's dress, and, cutting them in pieces, distributed them
amongst those present.

Feasting, balls, and diversions of all kinds followed the
celebration of the royal nuptials, and for a time the king was
delighted with his bride. Four days after the marriage he writes
again to the lord chancellor in most cheerful tone:

"My brother will tell you of all that passes here, which I hope
will be to your satisfaction. I am sure 'tis so much to mine
that I cannot easily tell you how happy I think myself, and must
be the worst man living (which I hope I am not) if I be not a
good husband. I am confident never two humours were better
fitted together than ours are. We cannot stir from hence till
Tuesday, by reason that there is not carts to be had to-morrow to
transport all our GUARDE INFANTAS, without which there is no
stirring: so you are not to expect me till Thursday night at
Hampton Court."

They did not reach the palace until the 29th of May, that being
the king's birthday, and, moreover, the anniversary of his
entrance into London; a date which the Queen's arrival now caused
to be celebrated with triple magnificence and joy. When the
coach that conveyed their majesties drew near, the whole palace
seemed astir with happy excitement. Double lines of soldiers,
both horse and foot, lined the way from the gates to the
entrance. In the great hall the lord chancellor, foreign
ambassadors, judges, and councillors of state awaited to pay
homage to their majesties; whilst in various apartments were the
nobility and men of quality, with their ladies, ranged according
to their rank, being all eager to kiss the new queen's hand.
Sure never was such show of gladness. Bells rang people cheered,
bonfires blazed.

In the evening news was brought that the Duchess of York was
being rowed to Hampton from town; hearing which, the king, with a
blithe heart, betook his way to meet her through the garden, now
bright with spring flowers and fragrant with sweet scents, till
he arrived at the gate by which the silver streak of the pleasant
Thames flowed past. And presently on this calm May eve the sound
of oars splashing in the tide was heard, and anon a barge came in
sight, hung with silken curtains and emblazoned with the arms of
royalty. From this the Duchess of York disembarked, aided by the
king. When she had offered her congratulations to him, he,
taking her hand, led her to his bride, that such fair speeches
might be repeated to her majesty. And coming into the queen's
presence the duchess would have gone upon her knees and kissed
her majesty's hand; but Catherine raised her in her arms, and
kissed her on the cheek. Then amidst much joy the happy evening
waned to night.

The royal palace of Hampton Court, in which Charles had decided
on spending his honeymoon, had been raised by the magnificent
Wolsey in the plenitude of his power as a place of recreation.
Since his downfall it had been used by royalty as a summer
residence, it being in truth a stately pleasure house. The great
pile contained upwards of four hundred rooms. The principal
apartments had cedar or gilded and frescoed ceilings, and walls
hung with rare tapestries and curtains heavy with gold.
Moreover, these rooms contained furniture of most skilful design
and costly manufacture, and were adorned by the choice works of
such masters of their art as Holbein, Bellini, Vansomer, Rubens,
and Raphael; and withal enriched with Indian cabinets, such as
never were seen in England before, which the queen had brought
with her from Portugal.

The great hall had been the scene of many sumptuous banquets.
The chapel was rich in carved designs. Her majesty's bedroom,
with its curtains of crimson silk, its vast mirror and toilet of
beaten and massive gold, was a splendid apartment--the more so
from its state bed, which Evelyn says was "an embroidery of
silver on crimson velvet, and cost L8,000, being a present made
by the States of Holland, when his majesty returned, and had
formerly been given by them to our king's sister, ye Princess of
Orange, and being bought of her againe, was now presented to ye
king." Around this noble residence, where the court was wont to
tarry in summer months, stretched broad and flowerful gardens,
with wide parterres, noble statues, sparkling fountains, and
marble vases; and beyond lay the park, planted "with swete rows
of lime-trees."

And here all day long, in the fair summer time of this year,
pleasure held boundless sway. Sauntering in balmy gardens, or
seeking shelter from sun-rays in green glades and leafy groves,
their majesties, surrounded by their brilliant court, chased
bright hours away in frolic and pleasantry from noon till night.
Then revelry, gaining new life, began once more, when courtly
figures danced graceful measures to sounds of mirthful strains,
under the lustre of innumerable lights.

For a while it seemed as if a brave prospect of happiness was in
store for the young queen. Her love for her husband, her delight
in his affection, her pride in his accomplishments, together with
her simplicity, innocence, and naivete, completely won his heart.
These claims to his affection were, moreover, strengthened by the
charms of her person. Lord Chesterfield, a man whom experience
of the sex had made critical, writes that she "was exactly
shaped, has lovely hands, excellent eyes, a good countenance, a
pleasing voice, fine hair, and, in a word, what an understanding
man would wish for in a wife." Notwithstanding the attractions
of her majesty's person which he enumerates, he adds his fears
that "all these will hardly make things run in the right channel;
but, if it should, our court will require a new modelling." In
this note of alarm he forebodes danger to come. A man of his
majesty's character, witty and careless, weak and voluptuous, was
not likely to reconstruct his court, or reclaim it from ways he
loved. Nor was his union calculated to exercise a lasting
impression on him. The affection he bore his wife in the first
weeks of their married life was due to the novelty he found in
her society, together with the absence of temptation in the shape
of his mistress. Constancy to the marriage vow was scarcely to
be expected from a man whose morals had never been shackled by
restraint; yet faithlessness to a bride was scarcely to be
anticipated ere the honeymoon had waned. This was, however, the
unhappy fate which awaited Catherine of Braganza.

It happened early in the month of June, whilst the court was at
Hampton, my Lady Castlemaine, who had remained in town through
illness, gave birth to a second child. The infant was baptized
Charles Palmer, adopted by the king as his own, and as such
subsequently created Duke of Southampton. This event seemed to
renew all his majesty's tenderness towards her. Wearied by the
charm of innocence in the person of his wife, his weak nature
yielded to the attraction of vice in that of his mistress. He,
therefore, frequently left Hampton Court that he might ride to
London, visit the countess, and fritter away some hours in her
presence; being heedless alike of the insult he dealt the queen,
and the scandal he gave the nation.

The while my Lord Castlemaine lived with the lady who shared his
title, and whom he called his wife; but their continuance to
abide in harmony and goodwill was, soon after the birth of this
child, interrupted for ever. My lord was certainly a loyal
subject, but he was likewise a religious man, as may be judged,
not by that which has been recorded, but from the narration which
follows. Having been bred a Catholic, he was anxious his wife's
son should be enrolled a member of the same community. To this
end he had him baptized by a priest, a proceeding of which the
king wholly disapproved; not because his majesty was attached to
any religion in particular, but rather that he resented
interference with the infant whom he rested satisfied was his own
child. Accordingly, by the king's command, Lady Castlemaine's
son was rebaptized by the rector of St. Margaret's, Westminster,
in the presence of his majesty, the Earl of Oxford, and the
Countess of Suffolk, first lady of the bedchamber to the queen
and aunt to the king's mistress.

This exasperated my Lord Castlemaine to such a degree that high
words passed between him and his lady: on which he resolved to
part from her for ever. However, she was more prompt to act in
the matter than he; for, taking advantage of his absence one day,
she packed up her jewels, plate, and household treasures, and
departed to the residence of her uncle, Colonel Edward Villiers,
at Richmond. This step was probably taken, if not by his
majesty's suggestion, at least with his full approval; for the
house she selected brought her within an easy distance of Hampton
Court, into which the king designed promptly to introduce her.

Now rumour of the king's liason had spread beyond the English
nation, and had been whispered even at the secluded court of
Portugal, into the ears of the bride elect. And the queen
regent, dreading the trouble this might draw upon her daughter,
had counselled her never to admit his majesty's mistress into her
presence. This advice the young queen determined to act upon;
and accordingly when Charles, a couple of days after their
marriage, presented her with a list of those appointed to her
household--amongst whom was my Lady Castlemaine--her majesty drew
a pen across the name of the dreaded favourite. The king, if
surprised or indignant, made no remark at the time, but none the
less held to the resolution he had taken of appointing the
countess a lady of the bedchamber. No further attempt of
intruding his mistress's presence upon his wife was made until
Lady Castlemaine came to Richmond.

It happened on the afternoon of the day on which the favourite
arrived her majesty sat in the great drawing-room, surrounded by
a brilliant throng of noble and beautiful women and gay and
gallant men. The windows of the apartment stood open; outside
fountains splashed in the sun; music played in a distant glade:
and all the world seemed glad. And as the queen listened to
pleasant sounds of wit and gossip, murmuring around her, the
courtiers, at sound of a well-known footstep, suddenly ceasing
their discourse, fell back on either side adown the room. At
that moment the king entered, leading a lady apparelled in
magnificent attire, the contour of whose face and outline of
whose figure distinguished her as a woman of supreme and sensuous

His majesty, suceedingly rich in waving feathers, glittering
satins, and fluttering ribbons, returned the gracious bows of his
courtiers to right and left; and, unconscious of the curious and
perplexed looks they interchanged, advanced to where his wife
sat, and introduced my Lady Castlemaine. Her majesty bowed and
extended her hand, which the countess, having first courtesyed
profoundly, raised to her lips. The queen either had not caught
the name, or had disassociated it from that of her husband's
mistress; but in an instant the character of the woman presented,
and the insult the king had inflicted, flashed upon her mind.
Coming so suddenly, it was more than she could bear; all colour
fled from her face, tears rushed to her eyes, blood gushed from
her nostrils, and she fell senseless to the floor.

Such strong evidence of the degree in which his young wife felt
the indignity forced upon her, by no means softened his majesty's
heart towards her, but rather roused his indignation at what he
considered public defiance of his authority. But as his nature
was remote from roughness, and his disposition inclined to ease,
he at first tried to gain his desire by persuasion, and therefore
besought the queen she would suffer his mistress to become a lady
of the bedchamber. But whenever the subject was mentioned to her
majesty, she burst into tears, and would not give heed to his
words. Charles therefore, incensed on his side, deserted her
company, and sought the society of those ever ready to entertain
him. And as the greater number of his courtiers were fully as
licentious as himself, they had no desire he should become
subject to his wife, or alter the evil tenor of his ways.

Therefore in their conversation they cited to him the example of
his grandfather, King James I., of glorious memory, who had not
dissembled his passions, nor suffered the same to become a
reproach to those who returned his love; but had obliged his
queen to bear with their company, and treat them with grace and
favour; and had, moreover, raised his natural children to the
degree of princes of the blood. They told Charles he had
inherited the disposition of his grandsire, and they were sure he
would treat the objects of his affection in like manner as that
king had done. Lady Castlemaine, her friends moreover argued,
had, by reason of her love for his majesty, parted from her
husband; and now that she had been so publicly made an object of
the queen's indignation, she would, if abandoned by him, meet
with rude contempt from the world. To such discourses as these
the king lent a willing ear, the more as they encouraged him to
act according to his desires. He was therefore fully determined
to support his mistress; and firmly resolved to subdue his wife.

Meanwhile, all joyousness vanished from the court; the queen
seemed thoroughly dejected, the king bitterly disappointed, and
the courtiers grievously disturbed. Moreover, rumours of the
trouble which had risen between their majesties became noised
abroad, and gave the people occasion of speaking indifferently of
their lord the king. Now Charles in his unhappiness betook
himself to the chancellor, who was not only his sage adviser and
trusted friend, but who had already gained the esteem and
confidence of the queen. My lord, by reason of his services to
the late king, and his friendship towards his present majesty,
took to himself the privilege of speaking with freedom and
boldness whenever his advice was asked by the monarch. As Burnet
tells us, the worthy chancellor would never make any application
to the king's mistress, nor allow anything to pass the seal in
which she was named; nor would he ever consent to visit her,
which the bishop considered "was maintaining the decencies of
virtue in a very solemn manner." The king knowing my lord was
the only one of all the strangers surrounding the queen whom she
believed devoted to her service, and to whose advice she would
hearken with trust, therefore bade him represent to her the
advisability of obedience.

Whereon the chancellor boldly pointed out to him "the hard-
heartedness and cruelty of laying such a command upon the queen,
which flesh and blood could not comply with." He also begged to
remind the monarch of what he had heard him say upon the occasion
of a like indignity being offered by a neighbouring king to his
queen, inasmuch as he had compelled her to endure the presence of
his mistress at court. On hearing which King Charles avowed it
was "a piece of ill-nature that he could never be guilty of; and
if ever he should be guilty of having a mistress after he had a
wife, which he hoped he should never be, she should never come
where his wife was; he would never add that to the vexation, of
which she would have enough without it." Finally my lord added
that pursuit of the course his majesty had resolved on, was a
most certain way to lose the respect and affections of his
people; that the excesses he had already fallen into had in some
degree lost him ground in their good esteem, but that his
continuance of them would "break the hearts of all his friends,
and be grateful only to those who desired the destruction of

Charles heard him with some impatience, but in his reply betrayed
that graciousness of manner which, never forsaking him, went far
in securing the favour of those with whom he conversed. He
commenced by telling the chancellor he felt assured his words
were prompted by the affection in which he held him; and then
having by a pathway of courteous speeches found his way to the
old man's heart, his majesty broached the subject uppermost in
his mind. His conscience and his honour, he said, for he laid
claim to both, led him to repair the ruin he had caused Lady
Castlemaine's reputation by promoting her to the position of a
lady of the bedchamber; and his gratitude prompted him to avow a
friendship for her, "which he owed as well to the memory of her
father as to her own person," and therefore he would not be
restrained from her company and her conversation.

Moreover, he had proceeded so far in the business, that if not
successful Lady Castlemaine would be subjected to all imaginable
contempt, and be exposed to universal ridicule. If, he added,
the queen conformed to his wishes in this regard, it would be the
only hard thing he should ever require of her; and, indeed, she
might make it very easy, for my lady must behave with all
possible respect in her presence, otherwise she should never see
his face again. Then he begged the chancellor to wait upon her
majesty, lay bare his arguments, and urge her to receive the
countess with some show of favour. The chancellor, though not
pleased with his mission, yet in hope of healing private discord
and averting public scandal, undertook to counsel the queen to
obedience, and accordingly waited on her in her private

Now her majesty's education had been such as kept her in complete
ignorance of the world's ways. The greater part of her life had
been spent in the peaceful retirement of a convent, which she
left for her mother's country palace, a home scarcely less
secluded. Maynard, in a letter preserved in the State Paper
Office, written from Lisbon when the royal marriage was proposed,
says the infanta, "as sweete a disposition princess as everr was
borne," was "bred hugely retired. She hath," he continues,
"hardly been tenn tymes out of the palace in her life. In five
years tyme she was not out of doores, untill she hurde of his
majestie's intentions to make her queen of Ingland, since which
she hath been to visit two saintes in the city; and very shortly
shee intends to pay her devotion to some saintes in the country."

From a life of innocence she was brought for the first time face
to face with vice, by one who should have been foremost in
shielding her from its contact. All her training taught her to
avoid the contamination sought to be forced upon her; all her
new-born love for her husband prompted her to loathe the mistress
who shared his affections. A stranger in a strange land, a
slighted queen, a neglected wife, an outraged woman, her
sufferings were bitter, Her wrongs were hard to bear. Therefore
when my lord chancellor came and made known the object of his
visit, she broke into a passion of tears, and could not speak
from force of sobs that seemed to rend her heart, and wholly
choked her utterance.

The chancellor then retired with some dismay, but waited on her
again next day, when he found her more calm. She begged he would
excuse the outburst of feeling he had witnessed, but added very
pitifully that when she thought of her misfortunes "she sometimes
gave vent to that passion which was ready to break her heart."
The advice, or, as he terms it, "the evidence of his devotion,"
which the chancellor gave was worthy of a courtier and a
philosopher. He told the young queen he doubted "she was little
beholden to her education, that had given her no better
information of the follies and iniquities of mankind; of which he
presumed the climate from whence she came could have given more
instances than this cold region would afford." Had she been
properly instructed, he furthermore hinted, she would never have
thought herself so miserable, or her condition so insupportable;
and indeed he could not comprehend the reason of her loud

At this she could no longer suppress the tears which came into
her dark eyes, and cried out she did not expect to find her
husband in love with another woman. Then my lord besought her
submission to the king; but she remained unshaken in the
resolution she had formed. She was ready to ask his majesty's
pardon for tiny passion or peevishness she had been guilty of,
but added, "the fire appearing in her eyes where the water was,"
she would never endure the presence of his mistress; and rather
than submit to such insult she would "put herself on board any
little vessel" and return to Lisbon.

Back went the chancellor, with a heavy heart and a troubled face,
to the king. He softened the queen's words as much as possible,
and assured his majesty her resistance to his will proceeded
"from the great passion of love she had for him, which
transported her beyond the limits of reason." But this excuse,
which should have rejoiced a husband's heart, only irritated his
majesty's temper. That night a violent quarrel took place
between the husband and wife, yet scarce more than bride and
bridegroom. When they had retired, the king--being inflamed with
the words of his courtiers, who assured him the dispute had now
resolved itself into a question of who should govern--reproached
the queen with stubbornness and want of duty; upon which she
answered by charging him with tyranny and lack of affection. One
word borrowed another, till, in his anger, he used threats when
she declared she would leave the kingdom. "The passion and noise
of the night reached too many ears to be a secret the next day,"
says the chancellor, "and the whole court was full of that which
ought to have been known to nobody."

When the royal pair met next morning, they neither looked at nor
spoke to each other. Days passed full of depression and gloom
for the young wife, who spent most of her time in seclusion,
whilst the king sought distraction in the society of his
courtiers. The chancellor, after his second interview with the
queen, absented himself from court, not wishing to be furthermore
drawn into a quarrel which he saw himself powerless to heal.
During his absence the king wrote him a letter which evinced
determination to carry out his design. This epistle, preserved
in the library of the British Museum, runs as follows:


"I forgot when you were here last to desire you to give Broderich
good council not to meddle any more with what concerns my Lady
Castlemaine, and to let him have a care how he is the author of
any scandalous reports; for if I find him guilty of any such
thing, I will make him repent it to the last moment of his life.

"And now I am entered on this matter, I think it very necessary
to give you a little good council in it, lest you may think that
by making a farther stir in the business you may divert me from
my resolution, which all the world shall never do; and I wish I
may be unhappy in this world and in the world to come, if I fail
in the least degree of what I have resolved, which is of making
my Lady Castlemaine of my wife's bedchamber. And whosoever I
find in any endeavours to hinder this resolution of mine (except
it be only to myself), I will be his enemy to the last moment of
my life. You know how true a friend I have been to you; if you
will oblige me eternally, make this business as easy to me as you
can, of what opinion soever you are of; for I am resolved to go
through with this matter, let what will come on it, which again I
solemnly swear before Almighty God.

"Therefore, if you desire to have the continuance of my
friendship, meddle no more with this business except it be to
bear down all false and scandalous reports, and to facilitate
what I am sure my honour is so much concerned in. And whosoever
I find is to be my Lady Castlemaine's enemy in this matter, I do
promise, upon my word, to be his enemy as long as I live. You
may show this letter to my lord lieutenant, and if you have both
a mind to oblige me, carry yourselves like friends to me in this

The chancellor was, soon after the receipt of this letter,
summoned to Hampton Court, when his majesty, with some passion,
declared the quarrel was spoken of everywhere, and wholly to his
disadvantage. He was therefore anxious to end it at once, and
commanded my lord to wait again upon the queen, and persuade her
to his wishes. The chancellor informed the king he "had much
rather spend his pains in endeavouring to convert his majesty
from pursuing his resolution, which he did in his conscience
believe to be unjust, than in persuading her majesty to comply
with it, which yet he would very heartily do." Saying which, he
departed on his errand; to which the queen answered, her
conscience would not allow her to consent that the king's
mistress should be one of her attendants. Then the chancellor
besought his royal master, saying he hoped he might be no more
consulted with, nor employed concerning an affair, in which he
had been so unsuccessful.

By reason of this opposition the king was now more resolved than
ever to honour his mistress and humble his wife; and, with a
cruelty unusual to his nature, determined to break her majesty's
spirit, and force her into obedience.

On coming to England the young bride had brought in her train
some Portuguese gentlewomen and nobles, whom she was anxious to
employ in various offices about her person, that she might not
feel quite in the midst of strangers. These his majesty believed
were in some measure answerable for the queen's resistance to his
desires, and therefore decided on sending them back to their own
country; knowing moreover, this was an act which would sorely
grieve her majesty. Therefore, without first deigning to inform,
the Queen of Portugal, he named a day for them to embark. This
was a sad blow to the hopes of the Portuguese, who had
entertained high expectations of being placed in advantageous
circumstances about the court; nor did the king by any show of
liberality help to lessen their disappointment. The queen was
indeed afflicted at the prospect of their loss; and her
mortification was the greater because, having received no money
since she came into the kingdom, it was out of her power to make
them compensation for their services.

The thought of being deprived of her people in her present
unhappy condition rendered her so miserable, that she besought
the king to allow some of them to remain; and, likewise, she
employed others to make the same petition on her behalf.
Therefore one of her ladies, the Countess of Penalva, who had
been her attendant since childhood, and who now, because of
weakness of sight and other infirmities, scarce ever left her
apartments, was allowed to stay, as were likewise "those
necessary to her religion," and some servants employed in her

But these were not the only means the king took to thwart her
majesty and all connected with her. He upbraided the Portuguese
ambassador for not having instructed the queen "enough to make
her unconcerned in what had been before her time, and in which
she could not reasonably be concerned." Moreover he reproached
him with the fact of the queen regent having sent only half the
marriage portion; and so harassed was the ambassador by royal
wrath, that he took to his bed, "and sustained such a fever as
brought him to the brink of the grave." Regarding that part of
the dowry which had arrived, Charles behaved in an equally
ungracious and undignified manner. He instructed the officers of
the revenue to use all strictness in its valuation, and not make
any allowances. And because Diego de Silva--whom the queen had
designed for her treasurer, and who on that account had
undertaken to see the money paid in London--did not make
sufficient haste in the settlement of his accounts, he was by the
king's command cast into prison.

These various affronts grievously afflicted her majesty, but the
insults she had to endure before the whole court wounded her far
more. For meanwhile the king lodged his mistress in the royal
household, and every day she was present in the drawing-room,
when his majesty entered into pleasant conversation with her,
while his wife sat patiently by, as wholly unheeded as if unseen.
When the queen occasionally rose and indignantly left the
apartment to relieve her anguish by a storm of tears, it may be
one or two of the courtiers followed her, but the vast number of
the brilliant throng remained; and Lord Clarendon adds, "they,
too, often said those things aloud which nobody ought to have

Charles no longer appeared with the grave and troubled expression
his face had worn at the commencement of the quarrel, but seemed
full of pleasantry and eager for enjoyment. Those surrounding
him took their tone from the monarch, and followed his example
the more because he "did shew no countenance to any that belong
to the queen." Her majesty, on the contrary, took her misery to
heart, and showed dejection by the sadness of her face and
listlessness of her gait. There was universal diversion in all
company but hers; sounds of laughter rang all day and far into
the night in every apartment of the palace but those appropriated
to her use. Charles steadily avoided her, and the attendants who
replaced her countrywomen showed more deference to the king's
mistress than to his queen. The solitary condition to which the
helpless foreigner and forsaken wife was reduced increased day by
day, her gloom deepened hour by hour, until, worn out by the
unequal conflict, her spirit broke. "At last," says Lord
Clarendon, "when it was least expected or suspected, the queen on
a sudden let herself fall, first to conversation, and then to
familiarity, and even, in the same instant, to a confidence with
the lady; was merry with her in public, talked kindly of her, and
in private used no lady more friendly."

From that hour her majesty never interfered with the king's
amours, and never again did a quarrel rise between them even to
the day of his death.


Their majesties arrive at Whitehall.--My Lady Castlemaine a
spectator.--Young Mr. Crofts.--New arrivals at court.--The
Hamilton family.--The Chevalier de Grammont.--Mrs. Middleton and
Miss Kirke.--At the queen's ball--La belle Hamilton.--The queen
mother at Somerset House.--The Duke of Monmouth's marriage.--Fair
Frances Stuart.--Those who court her favour.--The king's passion.

On the 23rd of August, 1662, their majesties journeyed from
Hampton Court to the palace of Whitehall by water. The gay and
goodly procession formed on that occasion has been described as
"the most magnificent triumph that ever floated on, the Thames."
First came barges belonging to city companies, beginning with the
mercers and grocers, most of them being attended with a pageant,
and all of them richly adorned as became their affection and
loyalty. Then followed barges of statesmen, nobility, and
courtiers, with their retinues, brave in numbers, gay in colours,
and attended by bands of music. And finally came the king and
queen, seated side by side in a galley of antique shape, all
draped with crimson damask, bearing a canopy of cloth of gold,
supported by Corinthian pillars, wreathed with ribbons, and
festooned with garlands of fragrant flowers.

The whole city was abroad, watchful of their approach; the Thames
was covered with boats to the number of ten thousand; and the
banks were crowded with spectators beyond reckoning. On this
fair August day the sky had not a single cloud to mar its
universal blue; the sun shone gloriously bright, turning the
river to sheets of gleaming gold: whilst the air was filled with
roaring of cannon, strains of music, and hearty shouts of a loyal

Mr. Samuel Pepys, though he offered as much as eight shillings
for a boat to attend him that day, could not obtain one, and was
therefore obliged to view this gallant procession from the roof
of the royal banqueting hall, which commanded a glorious view of
the Thames. But what pleased his erratic fancy best on this
occasion was, not the great spectacle he had taken such trouble
to survey, but a sight of my Lady Castlemaine, who stood over
against him "upon a piece of Whitehall." The worthy clerk of the
Admiralty "glutted" himself with looking on her; "but methought
it was strange," says he, "to see her lord and her upon the same
place walking up and down without taking notice of one another,
only at first entry he put off his hat, and she made him a very
civil salute, but afterwards took no notice of one another; but
both of them now and then would take their child, which the nurse
held in her arms, and dandle it. One thing more: there happened
a scaffold below to fall, and we feared some hurt, but there was
none; but she of all the great ladies only ran down among the
common rabble to see what hurt was done, and did take care of a
child that received some little hurt, which methought was so
noble. Anon there came one there booted and spurred,that she
talked long with. And by-and-by, she being in her haire, she put
on her hat, which was but an ordinary one, to keep the wind off.
But methinks it became her mightily, as everything else do."

It was notable the countess did not accompany her majesty in the
procession to Whitehall, as one of her attendants; but in fact
she had not obtained the position sought for, though she enjoyed
all the privileges pertaining to such an appointment. "Everybody
takes her to be of the bedchamber," the lord chancellor writes to
the Duke of Ormond, "for she is always there, and goes abrode in
the coach. But the queen tells me that the king promised her, on
condition she would use her as she doth others, that she should
never live in court; yet lodgings I hear she hath." Lodgings the
countess certainly had provided for her in that block of the
palace of Whitehall, separated from the main buildings by the old
roadway running between Westminster and the city.

A few days after their majesties' arrival at Whitehall, the queen
mother returned to town, and established her court at Somerset
House, which had been prepared for her future abode. She had
arrived in England before the king and queen left Hampton Court,
and had taken up her residence at Greenwich Palace. The avowed
object of her visit was to congratulate them upon their marriage.
Charles and his bride therefore took barge to Greenwich, one
bright July day, followed by a brilliant and illustrious train,
that they might wait upon her majesty. And she, being made aware
of their approach, met them at the portal of the palace. There
Catherine would have gone down upon her knees to this gracious
lady--the survivor of great sorrows--but she took the young queen
in her arms, and calling her beloved daughter, kissed her many
times. Then she greeted her sons Charles and James, likewise the
Duchess of York, and led them to the presence-chamber, followed
by the whole court. And presently when Catherine would, through
her interpreter, have expressed her gratitude and affection, the
elder queen besought her to lay aside all ceremony, for she
"should never have come to England again except for the pleasure
of seeing her, to love her as her daughter, and serve her as her
queen." At these sweet words the young wife, now in the first
days of her grief, was almost overcome by a sense of
thankfulness, and could scarce restrain her tears; but she
answered bravely, "Believe me, madam, that in love and obedience
neither the king nor any of your children shall exceed me."

The court of the merry monarch and that of the queen mother being
now settled in town, a period of vast brilliancy ensued, during
which great festivity and much scandal obtained, by reason of
intrigues in which the king and his friends indulged. Whitehall,
the scene of so much gaiety and gallantry, was a palace by no
means befitting the luxurious Charles. It consisted of a series
of irregular houses built for different purposes at various
periods; these contained upwards of two thousand rooms, most of
which were small, and many of which were without doors. The
buildings were intersected by grassy squares, where fountains
played, statues were grouped, and dials shadowed the passing
hour. At hand stood St. James's Park, with its fair meadows and
leafy trees; close by flowed the placid Thames, bearing heavily
laden lighters and innumerable barges. Attached to these
dwellings, and forming part of the palace, stood the great
banquet hall, erected from designs by Inigo Jones for James I.
Here audiences to ambassadors, state balls, and great banquets
were held. The ceiling was painted by Rubens, and was, moreover,
handsomely moulded and richly gilt. Above the entrance-door
stood a statue of Charles I.,"whose majestic mien delighted the
spectator;" Whilst close by one of the windows were the
ineradicable stains of blood, marking the spot near which he had
been beheaded.

Now in the train of the queen mother there had travelled from
France "a most pretty sparke of about fourteen years," whom Mr.
Pepys plainly terms "the king's bastard," but who was known to
the court as young Mr. Crofts. This little gentleman was son of
Lucy Walters, "a brown, beautiful, bold creature," who had the
distinction of being first mistress to the merry monarch. That
he was his offspring the king entertained no doubt, though others
did; inasmuch as young Mr. Crofts grew to resemble, "even to the
wart on his face," Colonel Robert Sidney, whose paramour Lucy
Walters had been a brief while before his majesty began an
intrigue with her. Soon after the boy's birth that beautiful
woman abandoned herself to pleasures, in which the king had no
participation. He therefore parted from her; had her son placed
under the guardianship of Lord Crofts, whose name he bore, and
educated by the Peres de l'Oratoire at Paris. The while he was
continually at the court of the queen mother, who regarded him as
her grandson, and who, by the king's command, now brought him
into England. The beauty of his face and grace of his figure
could not be exceeded, whilst his manner was as winning as his
air was noble. Moreover, his accomplishments were numerous; he
danced to perfection, sang with sweetness, rode with skill; and
so gallant was his nature that he became at this early age, as
Hamilton affirms, "the universal terror of husbands and lovers."

The king betrayed the greatest affection for him, and took
exceeding pride in being father of such a brave and comely youth,
at which my Lady Castlemaine was both wrathful and jealous,
fearing he would avert the royal favour from her own offspring;
but these feelings she afterwards overcame, as will be duly
shown. His majesty speedily showered honours upon him, allotted
him a suite of apartments in the royal palace of Whitehall,
appointed him a retinue befitting the heir apparent, created him
Duke of Orkney and of Monmouth, and installed him a knight of the

But, before this had been accomplished, there arrived in town
some personages whose names it will be necessary to mention here,
the figure they made at court being considerable. These were Sir
George Hamilton and his family, and Philibert, Chevalier de
Grammont. Sir George was fourth son of James, Earl of Abercorn,
and of Mary, sister to James, first Duke of Ormond. Sir George
had proved himself a loyal man and a brave during the late civil
war, and had on the murder of his royal master sought safety in
France, from which country he, in the second year of the
restoration, returned, accompanied by a large family; the women
of which were fair, the men fearless. The Hamiltons being close
kin to the Ormond great intimacy existed between them; to
facilitate which they lived not far apart--the duke residing in
Ormond Yard, St. James's Square, and the Hamiltons occupying a
spacious residence in King Street. James Hamilton, Sir George's
eldest son, was remarkable for the symmetry of his figure,
elegance of his manner, and costliness of his dress. Moreover,
he possessed a taste shaped to pleasure, and a disposition
inclined to gallantry, which commended him so strongly to the
king's favour, that he was made groom of the bedchamber and
colonel of a regiment.

His brother George was scarcely less handsome in appearance or
less agreeable in manner. Another brother, Anthony, best
remembered as the writer of Grammont's memoirs, was likewise
liberally endowed by nature. Elizabeth, commonly called "la
belle Hamilton," shared in the largest degree the hereditary
gifts of grace and beauty pertaining to this distinguished
family. At her introduction to the court of Charles II. she was
in the bloom of youth and zenith of loveliness. The portrait of
her which her brother Anthony has set before the world for its

Book of the day: