Having recently finished Marci Jefferson’s Girl on the Golden Coin about the Restoration Court’s superstar, Frances Stuart, I’ve had the charming, irrepressible Charles II on my mind. Charles is of course famous for his mistresses and his excesses – he certainly earned the moniker “The Merry Monarch”, particularly coming as he did after the stringent Puritan period. But Charles was also a quick wit, with a sharp sense of humour. Case in point, when Charles discovered a satirical verse pinned to the door of his bedchamber, reading:
Here lies our Sovereign Lord the King
Whose word no man relies on
He never said a foolish thing
Nor ever did a wise one.
Charles, merely amused by the slight, replied: “This is true, for my words are my own, but my actions are those of my ministers.”