Authorised form of nameCharles II (1630 - 1685); King of Great Britain and Ireland
Other forms of surnameStuart
Dates1630 - 1685
Place of birthSt James's Palace, London, England, Europe
Date of birth29 May 1630
Place of deathWhitehall Palace, London, England, Europe
Date of death6 February 1685
Dates and placesBaptism:
St James's Palace, London, England, Europe (27 June 1630)
Westminster Abbey, London, England, Europe (14 February 1685)
Tutored by Dr Brian Duppa
In exile in Europe, from where he made several attempts to invade England and Scotland (1646-1660); crowned King of Scots at Scone (1651); acceded to the throne of England and Ireland (1660); deposed as King of Scots by the Declaration of Sanquhar (1680)
Membership categoryFounder
Date of election09/01/1665
Age at election34
Other Royal Society activityAlthough he granted the Society a royal charter and was also engaged in sending gifts and queries via more prominent royalist Fellows, he never attended a single meeting and proceeded to take little interest in the Society's activities
RelationshipsParents: King Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France
Siblings: James [V]II (FRS 1665)
Married: Catherine of Braganza
Children: no legitimate children; at least 12 illegitimate children
Published worksRCN: 32802
General contextAside from his patronage of the Royal Society, Charles supported a variety of activities in natural philosophy. He founded the Mathematical School at Christ's Hospital as well as the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. Furthermore, he had his own chemistry laboratory, where dissections were sometimes carried out and observed as well.
His reign and the time period surrounding it are considered a tumultuous time in British history, with the Civil Wars, the Anglo-Dutch Wars, as well as the Exclusion Crisis, for example. In 1663, Charles granted a second charter to the Royal Adventurers (later the Royal African Company), of which almost half the named members in the Charter were already involved or would later be involved with the Royal Society. This charter marks the official beginning of the transatlantic slave trade in the English and then British Empire, with the RAC having a monopoly on the transportation of enslaved people.
Related imagesDiscover a selection of related images in our picture library

Charles II P0022.jpg

Bulloch's Roll; DNB; ODNB
'Charter granted to the Company of Royal Adventurers of England Related to Trade in Africa, 1663', British Library [; last accessed 03/05/2022]
Sir Bernard Lovell, 'Address at Westminster Abbey, on the Occasion of the Tercentenary of the Royal Greenwich Observatory' in NR 1975-6 vol 30 pp 127-132
John Thomas, 'Josiah Wedgwood's Portrait Medallions of Fellows of the Royal Society' in NR 1963 vol 18 pp 45-53, plate
Sir Harold Hartley, 'The Tercentenary of the Royal Society's Charter' in NR 1962 vol 17 pp 111-116, plate
M L Wolbarsht and D S Sax, 'Charles II, a Royal Martyr' in NR 1961 vol 16 pp 154-157
E S de Beer, 'King Charles II, Fundator et Patronus (1630-1685)' in NR 1960 vol 15 pp 39-45, plate
N J W Thrower, 'Samuel Pepys FRS (1633-1733) and The Royal Society' in NR 2003 vol 57 pp 3-13
Marshall J. 2013. 'Whig Thought and the Revolution of 1688–91', in Harris, T., & Taylor, S. (Eds.). (2015). The final crisis of the Stuart monarchy: the revolutions of 1688–91 in their British, Atlantic and European contexts
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA8166
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
MM/11/26Draft of the Petition of the Royal Society for the grant by Charles II of Chelsea College and landsc.1660s
EL/S1/98Letter, from Franciscus de le Boe Sylvius to King Charles II, dated at Leyden1671
DM/5/53Fair copy of a diploma for Johannes Hevelius, marking his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society15 April 1664
DM/5/111List of actions of Charles II as founder and patron to the Royal Society 17th-18th century
DM/5/112List of actions of Charles II as founder and patron to the Royal Society 17th-18th century
MOB/001Royal Society Mace1663
MOB/014Unknown terrellae17th century
DM/5/101A list of benefactors to the Museum, to the value of £5 or upwards at one time c.1737
IM/000804Charles II, King of Great Britain and Ireland
IM/000805Portrait of Charles II by Sir Peter Lely with the mace belownd
EL/H3/11Letter, from Johann Ludwig Hannemann to Henry Oldenburg, dated at Buxtehude3 January 1672
S/0003Sculpture bust of Charles II, King of Great Britain and Ireland1780
P/0022Portrait of Charles II; King of Great Britain and Ireland
P/0215Portrait of Charles II1750
EL/B1/4Letter, from William Brouncker to the Duke of Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland3 January 1662
EL/B1/1Letter, from William Brouncker to King Charles II3 September 1662
CLP/24/79Petitions, 'The humble Petition of Henry Oldenburg' by Henry Oldenburg and 'The Humble Petition of Georgius Casparus Kirchmajer' by Georgiys Casparus Kirchmajer to [King Charles II of England] 17th century
AP/28/27Paper, 'History of the mace given to the Royal Society by Charles the Second' by Charles Richard WeldApril 1846
CLP/6/51Paper, 'An account of R Boyle's way of examining waters as to freshnes and saltnes' by Robert Boyle30 October 1683
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