Throughout the enforced idleness of his exile, Charles II lived on credit, which became increasingly difficult for him, and harder still for his companions and suppliers, to obtain. All the time, however, he showed a patient determination to regain the throne, rejecting various plans to return to an England which was not yet ready for him. His steadiness prevailed, in spite of his liking for frivolous and dissolute company. His first serious mistress, Lucy Walters, bore him a son whom he later created Duke of Monmouth, but she behaved so scandalously that the King prevented her from bringing him up.
The first message of this well-researched book is that it was the disagreements and rivalries between Cromwell’s followers after his death, rather than any success on the part of Charles’s own supporters, that were to bring the monarch back to the throne. The first four-fifths of the book are almost