MCM: Charles II

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Filmmakers can’t seem to get enough of Charles II, and frankly, that’s cool by me! Charles #2 happens to be my favorite male monarch of all time, so it’s always a treat to see him brought to life on film. And everyone seems to have a different take on him; from foppy to badass, there’s a whole range of Chazes to enjoy, whatever you may be in the mood for! So, in celebration of the 356th anniversary of his coronation on April 23, let’s revisit some of film’s most memorable renditions of England’s last true king.

 

Randall Ayrton in Nell Gwynn (1926)

 

Allan Jeayes in Colonel Blood (1934)

 

Cedric Hardwicke in Nell Gwyn (1934)

 

Vincent Price in Hudson Bay (1941)

 

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in The Exile (1947)

 

George Sanders in Forever Amber (1947)

 

James Villiers in The First Churchills (1969)

 

Michael York in The Lady and the Highwayman (1983)

 

Simon Callow in England, My England (1995)

 

Sam Neill in Restoration (1995)

 

Rufus Sewell in The Last King/The Power and the Passion of Charles II (2003)

Rufus Sewell, Charles II

 

Rupert Everett in Stage Beauty (2004)

 

John Malkovich in The Libertine (2004)

 

Jeremy Northam in New Worlds (2014)

 

Daniel Lapaine in Versailles (2015)

 

Do you have a favorite Charles II? Share him in the comments!

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About the author

Sarah Lorraine

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Sarah discovered her dual passion for history and costume right around the age of twelve. Dragged kicking and screaming to her first Renaissance Faire at Black Point, she was convinced she was going to hate it, but to her surprise, she fell head over heels in love with the world of reenactment and dress up immediately. Her undergraduate degree is in Clothing & Textile Design, and she has a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture. When she’s not hauling crap to SCA events and ren faires, Sarah enjoys reading true crime books, writing fiction, and sewing historical clothing from the Middle Ages through the 20th-century. One of these days, she might even start updating her old costuming blog again.

16 Responses

  1. Susan Pola

    James Villiers in First Churchills, Rufus Sewell & Rupert Everett are my favourites. John Malkovich did a great job, but Johnny Depp was the movie. I need to see Jeremy Northam in New Worlds (what’s it about?– The Colonies?)

    Reply
  2. Rowen G.

    There was Jeremy Clyde in “By the Sword Divided” – he was in the episode “Ashes to Ashes” in the first series, and in “Restoration” at the end of the second series.

    Reply
    • Rowen G.

      Correction: Jeremy Clyde played Charles I; Charles II was played by Simon Treves, who appeared only in the second series. (And neither was in the “Ashes to Ashes” episode.)

      Reply
  3. Fran in NYC

    James Villiers was my first and still favorite Charles II. Caught all his facets!

    Reply
  4. Susan Pola

    I still remember James Villiers’ Charles saying to James Duke of York (his brother): ‘Jamie, you have the soul of a medieval Pope.’ His Grace took it as a compliment, too.

    Reply
  5. LoGirLoo

    I just love Rupert Everett as Charles. Well, with his amazing speaking voice I think I’d love him in anything, but as Charles he was just perfect. He nailed the Merry Monarch bit, but also gave him such wonderful subtle nuance and depth.

    Reply
  6. Northcountrygal

    James Villiers – I cannot read about Charles II without hearing his voice in my head. It was perfect casting – right down to his height!

    Reply
  7. Karen K.

    The only one I’ve actually seen is Versailles, but Rupert Everett and Michael York are tied for best looking in my opinion.

    And I want to steal ALL THE PUPPIES.

    Reply

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