Charles II

Charles II is considered a gambling man and in fact there is a book all about his gambles, some of which involve actual card games while others are all about moves he made to restore the English monarchy.  Charles II was considered a “merry king” by historians for his love of life. When he took over the court he ensured that games of chance would be focused on, which helped his love for the games to spread throughout England. He also found that the colonies had their own games of chance which he was also interested in learning about. Gambling with games of chance at court may not be what Charles II is remembered most for, but it was an aspect of his life and one that probably made him succeed in many of his other coups.

Charles had a bit of a difficult life. His father was executed in 1649, so Charles II was proclaimed king of Great Britain and Ireland, but the English Parliament did not want to accept him.  By 1651 Charles was defeated in a battle that led to his nine year exile in France. He also spent time in the United Provinces and Spanish Netherlands.

Cromwell, who was acting as the dictator, died in 1658 opening a way for Charles II to take back his throne.  He returned on his 30th birthday to succeed his father.  Charles re-established the Church of England, though he preferred religious tolerance.  It was due in part to an alliance with his first cousin where he promised to convert to Roman Catholicism at an unspecified date. Despite re-establishing the Church of England he did try to offer religious freedom, but the English Parliament made him withdraw it.

Charles II had many conflicts with parliament and no legitimate children, and therefore the throne was left to his brother James who was not looked on favourably.  According to one historian who wrote the book “A Gambling Man”, Charles II spent much of his youth penniless but lovemaking, cheerful, and full of loyalty. He was considered a man with a mask of despair, which tended to be a good weapon in gambling for him.  Despite his fun and games, which is really all he had during his exile, he still tried to win against the English to regain his rights. It is said that it was his patience that was the winning strategy in the game.  According to the information he was even witty when he returned as king, stating he would not have waited so long had he known he would be openly received in such a delightful fashion.

When it comes to games of chance sometimes patience is the very thing one needs to succeed. Charles II definitely had plenty of patience to wait for his re-establishment as king, as well as to gain his throne with such amazing cheeriness that he displayed according to the history books. It is probably his behaviour as well as his love for games that gave him his proper title.

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