LONDON (AP) — Britain’s new monarch is called King Charles III — but it wasn’t inevitable.
Charles Philip Arthur George could have chosen another royal name when he ascended the throne following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. While the Queen used her first name, her father, King George VI, was called Albert Frederick Arthur George and Bertie by friends and family.
Some observers thought the new king might prefer a different name because of the historical baggage associated with the two previous British monarchs called Charles.
King Charles I is the only British ruler whose reign led to revolution and the temporary abolition of the monarchy.
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He ascended the throne in 1625 and his reign saw an escalating power struggle between the crown and Parliament, which sought to limit the king’s powers.
After the King attempted to arrest legislators in the House of Commons in 1642, hostilities erupted into the English Civil War, which ended in victory for Oliver Cromwell’s parliamentary forces. Charles was convicted of high treason and beheaded in 1649 outside the Banqueting House in London, just up Parliament Street.
The son of Charles I spent his youth abroad during the 11 years of Britain’s rule under Cromwell. He ascended the throne when the monarchy was restored in 1660.
He had considerably less power than his father had. The monarch was stripped of the power to make laws without the consent of Parliament. Further reforms over the following decades established that the Crown had to accept the will of the democratically elected Parliament, the basis of Britain’s constitutional monarchy.
The 25-year reign of Charles II saw the return of public entertainment after the austere years under Puritan Cromwell, when theaters were closed and Christmas celebrations banned.
Charles II was nicknamed the “joyful monarch” because of his hedonism and his many romances. The King Charles Spaniel is named after the dog-loving monarch.
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