On this day in 1660, which would have been Oliver Cromwell’s 61st birthday, the “Convention Parliament” was convened for the first time, in theory as a “free parliament”, with no allegiance to either the Commonwealth or the Monarchy, although in practice as one with overwhelmingly Monarchist sympathies. Indeed, according to Trevelyan, it was “by the letter of the law no true Parliament, because the king did not summon it, on the contrary, it summoned the king”.
On May 8th, it restored the monarchy to Prince Charles, making him King Charles II. Charles II then went on to have executed almost all the surviving “regicides”, who had signed his father Charles I’s death warrant, thereby violating the terms of his own “Declaration of Breda”, which had promised a pardon for all crimes committed during the Civil War and inter-regnum.
Another in the occasional series on contemporary – “pen-portrait” – accounts of events in the history of London, this one written by Ann Fanshawe regarding her Royalist husband Sir Richard Fanshawe’s imprisonment in London following his capture by Parliamentarians at the Civil War Battle of Worcester in 1651:
“During the time of his imprisonment, I failed not constantly to go, when the clock struck four in the morning, and with a dark lantern in my hand all alone and on foot, from my lodging in Chancery Lane … to Whitehall, in at the entry that went out of King Street and onto the bowling-green. There I would go under his window and quietly call to him. He, that after the first time expected me, never failed to put out his head at the first call; thus we talked together, and sometimes I was so wet with the rain, that it went in at my neck and out at my heels. He directed me how I should make my addresses, which I did ever to their general, Cromwell … ”.
Sir Richard was duly released by Cromwell. He went on after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 to resume his political and diplomatic career, serving as Ambassador to Portugal and Spain. He died in Madrid in 1666, whereupon his body was brought back to England for burial.