If you’re moving to London, it’s in the spirit of an international relocation to broaden your historical and cultural knowledge. That’s why we run our weekly Weekend Warrior Sunday series here, so you can already get acquainted with Britain’s past monarchs as you prepare for your London move. Last week, we finished reviewing the Commonwealth rule of Oliver Cromwell, England’s Lord Protector in place of the traditional monarchy. Dying of illness, Cromwell named his son Richard Cromwell as his heir.
Richard is actually Oliver’s third son, but the deaths of his older brothers have made him next in line. Previously a gentleman farmer, he inherits his father’s role as Chancellor of Oxford University and, thus introduced into public life, proceeds to become a member of the Council of State as well as House of Lords. Becoming Lord Protector of the Realm in 1658, Richard faces opposition from military leaders, and government structure fluctuates as pressures are placed on him. A Rump Parliament is reestablished in place of the Protectorate, then dissolved, then reinstated yet again—General Monck has led the charge on this and also reopens Parliament’s doors to members who had been driven out a decade earlier.
Monarchy is restored as the former (executed) King Charles I‘s son, Charles II, is invited to assume the throne as king in 1660, forcing Richard to abdicate. He settles for a long while in France under an assumed name. Whereas it sends Richard away, the restoration of the monarchy shockingly brings the deceased Oliver Cromwell back into the picture. In 1661, a mob raids Westminster Abbey to exhume Oliver Cromwell’s remains. Though Cromwell had lost his life to natural causes, his body is now hanged in Tyburn and decapitated as a symbolic posthumous execution. His head is mounted on a stake in front of Parliament while his body is tossed into an unmarked grave.
As for Richard, when permitted to reenter England without consequence in 1680, he continues to live a quiet, humble life of anonymity. He dies at the age of eighty-five in 1712.