What Kings Charles Told Me

By Bilal Hafeez

(2 min read)

Well, not quite. I’m using quotes from King Charles, so it’s more like a general telling, rather than a personal conversation. But I also didn’t say which King Charles!

History buffs will know that King Charles I (reigned 1625-1649) was executed in 1649. The story goes that he interfered with parliament and there was miliary coup to dislodge him (the English Civil War). Oliver Cromwell then ruled the British Isles during the so-called Interregnum. But Cromwell’s death soon led to the restoration of the monarchy. This meant the son of King Charles I also called Charles became King Charles II. He was a popular king though known for his hedonism too – he apparently had 12 children from various mistresses. Now Britain has its third Charles as King. I thought I’d go through the sayings of the three Kings and here are some of the highlights:

King Charles I

‘If I granted your demands, I should be no more than the mere phantom of a king.’ (In relation to Parliament asking to control military, civil and religious appointments)

‘Nothing is so contemptible as a despised prince.’ (Said just before his execution)

‘Princes are not bound to give an account of their actions but to God alone.’

‘I am no less confident, that no learned lawyer will affirm that an impeachment can lie against the King, they all are going in his name: and one of their maxims is, that the King can do no wrong.’

King Charles II

‘If we are understood, more words are unnecessary; if we are not likely to be understood, they are useless.’

‘Let not poor Nelly starve’ (Charles upon his deathbed wanted his mistress protected)

‘I always admired virtue – but I could never imitate it.’

‘This is very true: For my words are my own, and my actions are my ministers.’

‘For its merit I will knight it, and then it will be sir-loin.’ (Commenting on a cut of beef, which was the loin. The cut has since been called sirloin)

King Charles III

‘I think it’s something that dawns on you with the most ghastly, inexorable sense. I didn’t suddenly wake up in my pram one day and say ‘Yippee, I —’, you know. But I think it just dawns on you, you know, slowly, that people are interested in one, and slowly you get the idea that you have a certain duty and responsibility.’ (Asked when he had first realised that he was heir to the throne, in a radio interview in 1969)

‘A large number of us have developed a feeling that architects tend to design houses for the approval of fellow architects and critics, not for the tenants.’

‘If you want to develop character, go to Australia’

‘I’m not very good at being a performing monkey.’

‘There’s nothing like a jolly good disaster to get people to start doing something.’ (In relation to UK floods in 2014)

Let me know if missed any!

Thanks

Bilal

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