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King Charles II

(1630-1685), Reigned 1660-85

Sitter associated with 295 portraits
When civil war broke out in 1642, the heir to the throne Prince Charles was only twelve. He courageously engaged in the fighting for the next four years and, on one occasion when advised to retreat, cried 'I fear them not'. He was eventually sent abroad for safety in 1646. His attempt to invade England in 1651 ended in disaster at the Battle of Worcester when he was sheltered by Royalists until he finally escaped back to France. He was restored to the throne in 1660, amid great rejoicing, but with limitations on his powers. He became adept at out-manoeuvring the opposition to his policies, particularly in matters of religion and foreign affairs. The second half of his reign was marked by war with the Dutch after the Royal African Company, which had a monopoly of the Transatlantic slave trade, began to capture Dutch slave-trading posts in 1667. The company was founded by a royal charter issued by Charles in 1672 and was led by his brother, James Duke of York. In 1685, James succeeded as King James II, as although Charles had fathered fourteen children by his mistresses, he had no legitimate heir.

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King Charles II, by Unknown artist - NPG 6403

King Charles II

by Unknown artist
oil on canvas, 1630
On display in Room 4 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 6403

King Charles II, studio of Sir Anthony van Dyck - NPG 5705

King Charles II

studio of Sir Anthony van Dyck
oil on canvas, circa 1638
NPG 5705

King Charles II, by Cornelius Johnson (Cornelius Janssen van Ceulen) - NPG 5103

King Charles II

by Cornelius Johnson (Cornelius Janssen van Ceulen)
oil on panel, 1639
NPG 5103

King Charles II, by David Des Granges, after  Adriaen Hanneman - NPG 6276

King Charles II

by David Des Granges, after Adriaen Hanneman
watercolour on vellum, based on a work of 1648
NPG 6276

King Charles II, after Adriaen Hanneman - NPG 1499

King Charles II

after Adriaen Hanneman
oil on canvas, based on a work of 1648
NPG 1499

King Charles II, by John Michael Wright - NPG 531

King Charles II

by John Michael Wright
oil on canvas, circa 1660-1665
NPG 531

King Charles II, after Sir Peter Lely - NPG 153

King Charles II

after Sir Peter Lely
oil on canvas, feigned oval, based on a work of circa 1675
On display at Lyme Park, Stockport
NPG 153

King Charles II, attributed to Thomas Hawker - NPG 4691

King Charles II

attributed to Thomas Hawker
oil on canvas, circa 1680
On display in Room 6 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 4691

King Charles II, studio of John Riley - NPG 3798

King Charles II

studio of John Riley
oil on canvas, circa 1680-1685
NPG 3798

King Charles II, after Unknown artist - NPG D26421

King Charles II

after Unknown artist
line engraving, 17th century
NPG D26421


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