On this day in 1670 King Charles II, his sister Princess Henrietta, and King Louis XIV of France made a deal behind closed doors.
In 1534 King Henry VIII formally severed English ties to the Catholic Church by the passing of laws through Parliament including The Act of Supremacy. After these laws were passed the King was the head of the English church. 100 years later there were still conflicts and fighting among Protestants and Catholics in England. King Charles I was sympathetic to Catholics and even married Henrietta Maria of France. He also gave the colony Maryland to Lord Baltimore, a Catholic.
In 1649 King Charles I was executed and the monarchy was abolished. After 12 years of exile King Charles II was crowned king. Like his father Charles II married a Catholic: Princess Catherine of Portugal. Charles II’s sister Princess Henrietta married King Louis XIV of France’s brother, which gave her a large amount of diplomatic authority between the two nations.
Lead by Princess Henrietta, King Charles II and Louis XIV began discussions on the matters of religion, Spanish succession, and the Dutch ruler William of Orange. It was agreed by the three that:
- King Charles II would make a public profession of the Catholic faith and restore full communion with the Catholic Church.
- King Louis XIV would provide a stipend of £200,000 to aid him in his profession. (In the event that there was a revolt.)
- If there were claims to the Spanish monarchy by the King of France, then the King of England would aid the King of France in pressing his claim.
- They would both together declare war against William of Orange and work together to conquer his provinces.
Several years after this was agreed to in private, a public version was released which included every main provision except King Charles II’s profession. The reason for their keeping this portion of the treaty hidden from the public is unknown. It is likely to have been concealed because King Charles II would have had a great deal of problems with Parliament if the plans to restore Catholicism as the religion of England were leaked.
Even though King Charles II did not formally profess the Catholic Church, he showed sympathy and mercy to those Catholics who were oppressed in both England and the colonies while maintaining peace. Through patience, love, and charity; King Charles II protected his people while upholding his values, as a good King should do.