17th February 1649
Charles II is declared king in Royal Square
Charles II had fled to Jersey as the English Civil War approached its climax. Thus, he enjoyed relative safety when his father’s forces suffered defeat at the hands of Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army.
He can only have looked on as Cromwell purged Parliament of its royalists, and set up a commission to try the king, Charles I. The king, accused of treason against the people of England, was assumed to be guilty from the start and, in what amounted to little more than a show trial, was destined to be convicted and executed.
The monarchy prevails
Charles I was beheaded in London on 30 January 1649, in what Cromwell and his supporters would have hoped marked the end of the British monarchy. But royalists in both Scotland and Jersey had other ideas.
Scottish supporters of the monarchy declared Charles II king in his absence and, on 17 February, just over two weeks after the death of his father, the people of Jersey did the same in what’s now known as Royal Square.
The Parliamentarians couldn’t let this stand, and Charles II was forced to flee Jersey to relative safety in France, where he stayed until Cromwell’s death, nine years later, when he returned to the British mainland.
Charles II ruled alongside a new Parliament. However, his support of religious tolerance made him unpopular and, when an assassination plot was revealed, he dissolved Parliament and ruled as an absolute monarch from 1681 until his death four years later.
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