The Coronation of Charles II
Several of our Kings have had more than one Coronation. William the Conqueror was crowned at Winchester as well as at Westminster, as was also Richard Coeur-de-Lion. Henry III. was crowned in the Abbey as well as at Gloucester, while Henry V. was crowned not only in England but also in Paris.
But the most remarkable experience of all was that of Charles II., who was crowned in Scotland at the age of twenty, driven abroad by his enemies for nine years of penniless wandering and exile, and was crowned at Westminster in his thirty-first year.
It would have been interesting to have looked into the King's heart and read the thoughts that must have passed through his mind as, standing among the glittering pageantry of the Abbey to receive the acclamations of a united people, he recalled the divisions that had driven him to such desperate straits since the day of his first crowning.
No Coronation was ever attended by such enthusiasm as that of Charles II. It was more than a Coronation, it was a restoration and a re-statement of everything that England had abandoned, and, after twenty years of Civil War, anarchy, usurpation, and military despotism, joyfully resumed.
Every ancient rite was carefully sought for and brought to light, and seen to possess a significance that the dearth of the Interregnum had at last made apparent. Monarchy was considered to be something precious and worth preserving, even in its minutest details, because the want of it had brought such terrible calamities on all men.
"If power without law may make laws, may alter the fundamental laws of the Kingdom," King Charles I. had declared to his judges, "I do not know what subject he is in England that can be sure of his life or anything that he calls his own."
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