The Coronation of Charles II

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Previous page: Part 2 - The Coronation of Charles II

There was a curious aftermath to Charles II.'s Coronation. Owing to the sale of the ancient Regalia of England during the Interregnum - in that troubled time they fetched precisely 2647 18s. 4d.- the Regalia had had to be made again.

This was done by the great goldsmith Viner immediately before the Coronation, and afterwards they were shown to admiring multitudes in the chief national showplace, the Tower of London.

Here, ten years later, a daring scoundrel named Thomas Blood, an old republican soldier, tried to steal them. Disguised as a clergyman and accompanied by one of his doxies, whom he passed off as his wife, he visited the Tower and insinuated himself into the good graces of the simple folk who looked after the Regalia, a man named Edwards and his wife.

Having gained their confidence, he proposed a marriage between an imaginary nephew of his own and their daughter. On the day appointed he brought the pretended nephew, a stout rascal of his own metal, while another of his gang waited outside with horses. When the company were well warmed with wine and the courtesies of the marriage proposals, Blood expressed a desire to view the Regalia.

Once in the room, he and his accomplice beat and gagged the astonished keeper, who, however, resisted fiercely, and then set to work to flatten out the Crown and saw in half the Sceptre to fit discreetly into his bag. Unfortunately for themselves, they were interrupted by the entirely unlooked-for arrival of old Edwards' son.

They scarpered, carrying with them the Crown and golden Orb, but the cry of "Treason!" had now been raised, and before they could reach their horses, they were apprehended.

The following day Blood was brought before the King, who, to everybody's astonishment, was so taken with the fellow's nonchalant impudence that he subsequently pardoned him and even employed him in the royal service.

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