1659: Richard Cromwell and the Protectorate

1659: Richard Cromwell and the Protectorate
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Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 25 May 1659
  • Richard Cromwell inherited a pompous title from his father - "By the Grace of God and Lord Protector Republic of England, Scotland and Ireland".

On this day in 1659, (according to the Julian calendar, which was in use in England at the time), Richard Cromwell resigned as the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.

It was the formal end of the period known as the Protectorate. Richard Cromwell was the son of the famous Oliver Cromwell, the first Lord Protector, who ruled like a monarch even though England was a republic at the time. After Oliver’s death in 1658, he was succeeded by his son Richard (which was also similar to dynastic succession typical for a monarchy, not a republic).

Richard Cromwell was 31 years old when he became the Lord Protector. He didn’t have much political and military experience. He inherited the pompous title “By the Grace of God and Lord Protector Republic of England, Scotland and Ireland” from his father. Cromwell was also addressed as “His Highness”.

Many military commanders were against Richard Cromwell, and they came up with a plan. Their troops entered the St. James’s Palace, and Richard accepted their demands. He decided to leave, but his debts were paid, and he received an annuity.

After that, Richard Cromwell travelled around Europe, and allegedly used many pseudonyms. He visited many European courts, although some did not know his true identity. Later, he returned to England and died in the county of Hertfordshire in 1712, at the age of 86.

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