News from Queen Elizabeth II: Surprised Leader Who “Helped Cement Constitutional Monarchy” | Royal | New
The Queen’s reign has come under intense scrutiny recently, due to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to leave the royal frontline and Prince Andrew’s retirement last year. The Governor General of Barbados also announced this month that the nation intends to become a republic and relinquish the Queen as head of state in 2021. Events like this have left some royal fans in panic that the institution is on shaky ground – however, the events of 400 years ago, the monarchy is unlikely to collapse because of Oliver Cromwell.
Cromwell came to power as the Republican leader after leading the fight against King Charles I.
Charles repeatedly overstepped Parliament during his reign and exercised his royal prerogative, infuriating many powerful figures in England.
He was therefore seen as an absolute monarch, and his reign triggered the English Civil War in the 17th century.
Many of his enemies were also Puritans, while Charles was married to a Roman Catholic, which helped fuel antagonism between the two sides by adding a religious element.
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When he lost the war and was captured, Charles always refused to establish a constitutional monarchy, so he went on trial.
Charles believed that “no court had jurisdiction over a monarch” and subsequently did not plead the charges against him.
Instead, he said the trial was illegal – leaving his opponents to order its execution, so they could consolidate their power.
Cromwell then took over, having led the armies of Parliament against Charles during the Civil War.
He then ruled as Lord Protector over Great Britain from 1653, and his brutal campaigns against Catholicism are remembered, especially in Ireland.
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As a result, the statesman’s time in the seat of power only reinforced calls for a constitutional monarchy within Britain.
As History.com has noted, Cromwell is a divisive figure – dubbed a dictator by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill – but credited by some “with helping lead Britain to constitutional government.”
His son Richard succeeded Cromwell on his death in 1658, but he soon lost the support of the military and Parliament.
History.com explained that a new Parliament was formed and constitutional reforms were passed to restore the monarchy to avoid another domineering rule such as Cromwell’s.
Charles I’s son, Charles II, was chosen as heir.
Royal Central noted: “Charles II left the mainland on May 23, 1660 and landed at Dover on the 25th.
“Four days later, on his 30th birthday, King Charles II entered London to the jubilation of the people, some of whom regarded his return as a divinely ordained miracle which confirmed the establishment of God and the blessing of the English monarchy. “
This became known as the English Restoration.
Cromwell’s body was exhumed from Westminster Abbey on the 12th anniversary of the execution of Charles I, two years after his death.
He was beheaded and his head placed on a pole outside Westminster Hall for more than two decades afterwards.
Without the English Civil War, however, the royal institution would not have evolved into the constitutional monarchy on which the Queen resides today.