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Personality, Mannerisms, Attitude
- surrounds himself with spaniels
- walks quickly and with large strides
- uses the expression "Odd's Fish" whenever appropriate
- prefers informal over formal
- speaks in the royal We, except when intimate
Good intellectual well trained brain. Tends towards science rather than philosophy. Gets excited by engineering, navigation, ships. Described by visitors as quick on the mark. Despite being lazy, he knows what it is all about. He is also while not an art lover like his father still very appreciative of the cultural life. His favourites are comedy theatre and satire. A very visual mind and a good memory.
- He is a patron of science and will favour players with a scientific theme
- He has brought Dutch engineers and painters to England as part of his plan to bring his country to a new level of grandness. Will invest in ships and art!
- Patron of theatre. The King's Men (that includes Hart and Nell Gwynn) are paid out of the Privy Purse. Tolerance on satires, up to the point of even financing them out of the Privy Purse, because it is part of his evening amusement.
- He writes poetry as that is expected of cultured men.
Possibly enabled by his intelligence, in combination with his experiences in his youth in the Netherlands but Charles was a good and a shrewd negotiator. He often played all sides, being manipulative. He tended to be cynical and at times ruthlessly dumped or sacrificed people. He used both the ceremonies of court and his tactic of apparent approachability to his advantage. The first made sure that nobody forgot he was the god anointed King of England, even when Cromwell said differently. The second ensures that he is never isolated or 'played' but instead he spreads his attentions over courtiers who go to him directly instead of through a higher level person... it even gives commoners the idea he is still their king, even though secretly he must have hated the mob who murdered his father and nearly killed him too. He likes to put on a role of the benevolent ruler everybody loves. He is an absolutist monarch that deals with a democracy (to the horror of Louis XIV who thinks this infectious disease might spread over the channel). Charles was not a very powerful public orator, and is likely to have avoided big speeches. This while he was very confident in one on one conversations and more informal gatherings.
Charles and the Duke of York were obsessed by what any rebels and plotters might be up to, considering it a fairly real danger (considering that they once were similar plotters against Cromwell, small wonder). They took a personal hand into interrogations that were considered crucial, including personally leading those interrogations.
- occasional pageantry to remind everybody who is King
- theatre and merry gang sometimes used not just as relaxation but as a political tool, pricking his opponents
- will sell his soul to the devil if it means he keeps his throne
- buys lords with titles, prestige and positions and is heartily unashamed of such mercantile tactics
- in politics he stubbornly seeks to rule alone, but knows he needs to win the heart and minds of people to do so
- he needs the back up support of the French and thus also the Catholics
- The Merry King is a mask that hides a politically active King
- Does not like his kingship denied, or people entering his domain
- He employs staff as a shield to try and protect against his weaknesses (laziness, suspectibility to women) and maintain an image of chivalry and approachability
- intelligence gathering, spies and hunting down conspiracies are prioritised in secret budgets.
Like many students are the King from his earliest youth is described as lazy. If he could order some of his servants to do a task rather than himself he would do it. He would also frequently give into demands because it was easier than to fight them, or lie about it. He sought the path of least resistance. He is also easily bored, which sets his mind wandering to pleasures. He isn't particularly interested in is fashion, clothing being of secondary importance. He's a bit of a slouch.
- He is a consummate liar, agreeing with everyone and promising everything. (He's a pretty witty king whose words nobody relies on). This is especially true when cornered with upset people.
- He avoids conflict.
- Restless in his tastes because he's easily bored. Needs variety in women, expects others (May, Buckingham) to provide it and keep them in check.
- The King is not a fashion trend setter
Charming & Affable
The King has great charisma, which is part nature and part nurture. Ladies are to be treated with the utmost respect or so he was taught by his French Mother. He is an old Cavalier, or at least likes to consider himself like one. He is affable and easily liked. He is known to have put people at ease that were stressed meeting the King for the first time. His experience living as a commoner (when he escaped England but also during his long stay in the Netherlands were the equality streak ran strong) made him able to understand commoners in a way to which French Kings were quite oblivious. Not surprising for a man that has faced so many trauma's Charles has a strong tendency to depression, perhaps even manic depression (which also comes with very big highs beside the lows). It is the harsh realities of life, but also memories like that of poverty and his own near death and that of his father, that he seeks to escape with merriment and a sumptuous enjoyment of all the good things in life such as wine and women.
- If it is not difficult for him to do he will try and please those around him so that they are of course pleasing to him. If it is difficult, he will lie.
- He's able, either by inclination or great acting, to project an image of approachability to the common folk of England. In reality this is mostly maintained by staff and a few carefully selected moments of interacting with the populace. There are only so many hours in a day.
- He made great show of sometimes deliberately breaking protocol, to show commoners he was “one of them”. This is also one of the main attractions in having Nell Gwynn as a mistress and taken the occasional common but pretty lass to his bed.
- He strongly dislikes displays of passionate anger and violence. This is why he frowns upon duels and rowdy behaviour of courtiers will end with them cooling off in the Tower.
- Strong desire for merriment.
- Normally Charles was quite forgiving, especially towards friends and loved ones. However when he was foiled/looked foolish he could get quite stubborn and even menacing.
- The King is not only tolerant towards Catholics, he likely was a Catholic and did not make his conversion public. It is noted that many people in his intimate surroundings were Catholic. To a person like CR not only were Catholics more forgiving of his faults, but they were the ones most loyal to him in his exile.
- The King is not yet old, or cured of his weaknesses, but he has learned to compensate for them, with occasional slips
See Also Royal Mistress He is a cavalier, charming and gracious. He asked for a woman's opinion, which was not the norm in the 17th century. It is said this was influenced by being raised in a basically female court, with a heavy involvement of his mother. He respects women as near equals and therefore also sees their potential. Sex is not necessarily the determining factor. This attitude often outraged many of his citizens. If they refer to his lewd behaviour it is often because he actually took women seriously, enjoying their wit, not necessarily something we today would consider sexual, but at the time they made other men question his masculinity and sanity. His women did not live "under obedience" and instead he made it appear he granted their every wish (and often did).
The King above all should not be passive in regards to women. He moves his pawns and ladies are a big part of his repertoire, especially in foreign politics. He is not above using them as his agents.
He enjoys strongwilled spirited ladies. However he gets upset by their tears (they are not rational beings and their emotions are outside his intellectual understanding). When he was young he threw money at the problem and gave into demands. Having acknowledged his own weakness after Castlemaine, he compensates by keeping his staff (May especially) between himself and the girls.
He is not faithful, or rather, he spreads the love around much like he does with the rest of his courtiers. He's capable of separating sex and love quite well, but he also simply loves many women for different things and doesn't consider this wrong. He is also very virile and fertile. His many bastards are a point of male pride not shame. Clearly the lack of heirs was not his fault.
- Charlie the second
- Was one for the girls
- He gave them all rubies
- He gave them all pearls
- He gave them all babies
- In quite large amounts
- Thus creating the peerage
- Of Dukes, Earls and Counts
Need of Freedom
Charles Stuart was an unusual King in that he was used to being a commoner. This was especially true for moments when he might expect to have freedom in going where he wanted to go and doing what he wanted to do. Security nightmare, no doubt. He was famous for laughing away security risks to his person, stating nobody wanted York as King. In contrast CR at times took a very active interest in security issues when they were hunting conspiracies, all paid for by French money from Dover.
- CR might go incognito from time to time to escape his schedule and seek merriment
- CR might resist further security efforts
- CR doesn't like to tie himself down to a lady
- CR had extensive dossiers on people through his spymaster Williamson, info he might use to his advantage
- A 17th century King has no privacy. However CR made sure that while his public life was very known, he kept some state secrets out of view and also allowed himself freedom of movement, making him less predictable than his colleagues.
- Above all to keep control of the throne and secure it for the next generation
- Has plans for developing England through science, engineering and education.
- Patron of arts, especially theatre
- Wishes for tolerance of different faiths
Friends / Enemies
Merry Gang: See Merry Gang for a list. They amuse him and he believes they are the wits of England. He likes how they make him smile and support his libertine weaknesses. He does not trust them with matters of State or give them titles and offices. Their impact upon him is the powerful one of whispering things into his ear when he is drunk. Also, by supporting and encouraging them, he keeps a check on his political enemies by stimulating satire. That on occasion he gets hit too he takes in tolerate stride. In a way they are his court jesters, providing check and balance by speaking truth that could not be said in another way.
Danby: Though he knows the Earl is a egotist, he can't deny how effective he was in turning the treasury into a profit. Finding someone competent, he entrusts his government to the man. But, he dislikes Danby's hatred of the French and Catholics, so he tries to limit Danby's involvement in either.
York: He knows James is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Like so many people, James has disappointed him repeatedly with his thoughtlessness, selfishness, and stubbornness. But, his mother drilled into him the importance of family blood and divine right. So, he will stick by James as heir, through thick and thin. Preserving the throne his main ambition, even with such a poor tool as James. Note that a new legal heir would bring new balance that he would seek eagerly.
Monmouth: Same as James above, but Monmouth cannot satisfy the divine right aspect, so there will be forgiving love, but no support for heir. At the same time CR plays the common people and the Whigs on one side and York and his supporters on the other side by never outright saying Monmouth will never be heir, leaving hope in place. Monmouth was made prince by elevating him to Duke and was clearly the favourite son. If there is a new heir, Monmouth's role might plummet even more drastically than Yorks.
Buckingham: He has forgiven George a thousand times for his idiocy and lack of loyalty to Charles. By 1676, George is running out of opportunity for forgiveness; but, as men age, there is a certain fondness of remembering younger days of adventure and verility. Those companions who shared those days together will never truly be forgotten. George is like an older, sometimes jealous, brother. It is nice to have someone around who knows you so well, though that too can be an irritant.
May: Baptist May, the Private Purse is loyal only to the King and as such a new powerful tool. May would shield the King from a tearful Portsmouth, an angry Catriona, an arrogant Monmouth etc., soothing their feathers, promising he will bring it to the Kings attention and all other excuses, while the King fled behind a curtain. Why did May get away with that? He is not part of an hierarchy other than directly answering to the King, he cannot be touched other than by the King (threats do not work), nor does he have interests of his own because he's not part of the Lords or Commons, nor owns an estate but lives by the grace of the King (loyalty to the King is his only currency).
Parliament: Detests it. At heart CR is an absolutist monarch and parliament, and the commoners in them especially, stand in the way of his divine right to rule. If he can do without them, he will. Sadly he needs the money.
Church of England: Leaves it to the Archbishops.
Future Wife: See Karoline Stuart. He is motivated by greed and the desire to avoid conflict. As such, he marries the princess that brings him the greatest dowry and will not heighten the chance of another civil war. She also needs to be a from a fertile background, as having an heir other than James is another powerful desire.
Mistresses: there are many, list, including bastards, to be found at Royal Mistress. With the new wife he'll be likely to keep them at a little distance not to annoy her too much, but soon enough he'll fall back in old habits. He doesn't want to change his whole life style after all.