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?
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.