Life and times of Charles II

Course Dates: 24/11/19
Time: 11:00 - 17:00
Location: KS - Keeley Street

The Merry Monarch Charles II survived Civil War, the death of his father and the Republican Experiment. When he was restored he needed all his wit to steer a course through his 25 year reign.


What is the course about?

After a short introduction explaining why the Scottish Stuarts became kings of England we will look at Charles’s childhood at the court of his art loving parents, his experience of the Civil War, his exile and attempt at restoration when he was lucky to escape with his life. His life in exile was spent at different courts and he became notorious for his rakish lifestyle. His unexpected restoration at the age of 30 meant he came to the throne with one of the widest set of experiences of any British monarch. Despite many illegitimate children he failed to get an heir with his Portuguese queen and realised that the succession of his Catholic brother would always be a problem. The growing strength of Parliament was always a challenge for him along with difficult relations with other European powers and home grown problems. His reign saw advances in science with the founding of the Royal Society and great men such as Isaac Newton and Christopher Wren were encouraged by Charles. There were also advances in freedom such as the appearance of women on the stage and a relatively free press.

What will we cover?

We will cover Charles’s upbringing, his personal life and religious beliefs, his taste in music, art and literature, his love of beautiful women and the company of clever and witty men. His reign was marked by a series of disasters such as the Great Plague, the Great Fire of London and the Dutch Wars. Religious tensions dogged his reign and the Popish Plot nearly led to his downfall. He tried to stay friendly with his cousin Louis XIV of France despite considerable opposition in Parliament to the French. Overall, his reign was one of the most interesting in British History.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Identify Key Stages in Stuart History
Demonstrate understanding of the roles of the monarch and parliament in the C17th
Demonstrate understanding of the continuing religious conflicts in British Society in the C17th
Contribute to discussions on the role of Charles II in restoring the faith of the country in the monarchy.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

Introductory course.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Lectures, discussions, videos, music clips, slides.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No other costs are involved. You might want to bring pen and paper for any voluntary note-taking.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

HH014 The life and times of James 11.

Tutor Biographies
William Sterling Tutor Website

After a BA in History & Geography at Keele with Music, Education and Greek Studies as subsidiaries, William Sterling taught History full-time before becoming a Civil Servant working for the Departments of Transport and Education. This allowed him to study part-time for his MA from Birkbeck and PhD from King’s College, London. From 1992, he lectured in Adult Education at a number of colleges before joining the City Lit in 2008. Since 1994 he has been an official Gallery Guide at the British Museum, covering the whole museum but specialising in the Ancient Greeks, Romans and Etruscans, the Medieval & Modern European and Enlightenment Galleries. As a lecturer, he specialises in those same areas as well as Royal History (especially British Monarchs from 1603 to 1910), Composers’ Lives and other Cultural, especially interdisciplinary, topics. He also lectures on Cruise Ships on subjects ranging from Vikings to Shakespeare. He runs a website offering free resources on the subjects he teaches.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HH012

Sun, day, 24 Nov - 24 Nov '19

Duration: 1 session

Full fee: £59.00
Senior fee: £47.00
Concession: £30.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.