Issue Date: 15/06/2010
Issue Name: The Age of the Stuarts - Restoration of King Charles II
Producer: Buckingham Covers
The restoration of Charles II to the throne marked the return of monarchy to England and Ireland, after nearly a decade of Cromwell's republican Commonwealth and militant rule. Join us in commemorating the 350th anniversary of the restoration with this unique and timeless commemorative first day cover. It features the stamps torn from the Royal Mail Age of the Stuarts miniature sheet and limited numbers have been genuinely signed by famous English actor Sir Donald Sinden.
The Restoration of Charles II
The English Civil War of the 17th century culminated in the execution of King Charles I. Although Scottish Parliament proclaimed Charles II as the rightful heir to the throne, English Parliament passed a statute declaring that any such proclamation was unlawful. Thus began a short period known in history as the English Interregnum, with Oliver Cromwell as leader of what was effectively a republic. After Charles II's defeat at the Battle of Worcester at the hands of Cromwell, Charles fled to France where he remained in exile for 9 years. Cromwell became virtual dictator of England, Scotland and Ireland up to his death in 1658.
Cromwell's death led to the restoration of the monarchy, and Charles was invited back to Britain. On May 29, 1660, his 30th birthday, he was received in London to public acclaim. The following account was given by John Evelyn, the diarist, royalist and founder member of the Royal Society:
" May 29 1660 This day came in his Majestie Charles the 2nd to London after a sad, & long Exile, and Calamitous Suffering both of the King and Church: being 17 yeares: This was also his Birthday, and with a Triumph of above 20000 horse and foote, brandishing their swords and shouting with unexpressable joy: The Wayes straw'd with flowers, the bells ringing, the streetes hung with Tapissry, fountaines running with wine: The Major, Aldermen, all the Companies in their livery, Chaines of Gold, banners; Lords & nobles, Cloth of Silver, gold and vellvet every body clad in, the windos and balconies all set with Ladys, Trumpets, Musick, & of people flocking the streetes & was as far as Rochester, so as they were 7 houres in passing the Citty, even from 2 in the afternoone 'til nine at night: I stood in the trand, & beheld it, & blessed God: And all this without one drop of bloud, & by that very army, which rebell'd against him: But it was the Lords doing, et mirabile in oculis nostris: for such a Restauration was never seene in the mention of any history, antient or modern, since the returne of the Babylonian Captivity, nor so joyfull a day, & so bright, ever seene in this nation: this hapning when to expect or effect it, was past all humane policy "
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A limited number of these covers were genuinely signed by Sir Donald Sinden CBE, famous English stage, film and television actor who has remained hugely popular since his early days as a Rank Organisation film star in the 1950s. He has been an Associate Artiste of the Royal Shakespeare Company for since the early 1960s, and among his notable appearances is his portayal of The Duke of York in The Wars of the Roses opposite Dame Judi Dench.