Charles II

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Charles II (1630–1685) was recognised as king of England by royalists on the execution of his father in January 1649, but was unable to make good his rights at the time. In Scotland, however, he was proclaimed king as soon as news arrived of his father's execution. He was crowned as King of Scots at Scone on New Year's Day, 1651, presided over meetings of the Scottish Parliament, and led the Scottish army and English royalists in an invasion of England. Defeated at the battle of Worcester, he fled abroad, and all serious forces supporting him had been mopped up by the end of the year, though some guerrilla resistance continued. He was invited back by the English and Scottish parliaments in 1660. His reign is usually dated from that time by historians, though official English documents of the time backdated his reign to the date of his father's execution. (Scotland did not normally use regnal years.) Ostensibly an Anglican, except during his first reign in Scotland, when he belonged to the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland, he formally converted to Catholicism just before his death, and is assumed to have been prvately so inclined for some time; his foreign policy reflected his unwillingness to support Protestant countries. He founded the Royal Society. Like other monarchs of his time, he openly kept mistresses by whom he had children, but he failed to produce a legitimate heir. On his death, his brother succeeded as James VII and II.