We might blame it all on Cromwell and the puritans. They avoided having fun, and imposed that odd way of living on everyone else. So when Cromwell finally died in 1658, it is not a huge surprise that some people went overboard on the pleasures of the flesh.
The restored king, Charles II was one of them. Debauched? yes. But not demonic. Just debauched. He was the “merry monarch”. Charles loved women. Not just physically, though that was one of his main pursuits. He loved them in the ideal sense too.It is odd, therefore, that he left no legitimate heirs.13 illegitimate kids. But no heirs.
Too bad there because he was followed by his brother, the dreadful James I:I., who would be deposed.
BTW, a fun fact – remember Princess Diana? She was descended form 2 of Charles II’s illegitimate children.
And Charles II also restored Christmas to Britain (it had been banned by Cromwell).
And Charles loved to collect art.
In fact, one of the great stories from that era is the effort he made to re-start the royal art collection (that Cromwell had sold off). Indeed, the current royal collection starts from the works that Charles bought.
It is a fun read! Go for it!
Charles II reigned for 25 years, a long time. One would not claim that his rule was a great success in terms of policy. Indeed, he seems to have “sold out” to Louis XIV. And by the time of his death, at the age of 54, it was understood that he had no interest in matters of state. Indeed, just before he passed on, he engaged in an orgy with all 3 of his mistresses. Worse still, it was rumored that on his deathbed he converted to the Catholic faith. That may have been why he got no grand state funeral. There was an effigy made wearing royal garments of the day.
These still exist, and you can buy photos of them, including the undergarments. Somehow that seems appropriate.
But the point again, here was a man who was corrupted by power but not in a mean way. Unlike Henry VIII, for example, he seemed just happy to follow his bliss.