14 November 2007
CHARLES II (1630-1685), King of England and Scotland. Autograph letter signed ('Your affectionate frinde Charles R') to 'Mrs Doddington', Whitehall, 1 June 1660, one page, 4to, integral address leaf (seal tears and other losses affecting approx ten words on six lines; short tear to fold between leaves; minor soiling), window mounted. Provenance: undated stamps with crowned initial 'M'; 'From the collection of Mr Upcott of the London Institution' (annotation to mount); Christie's, 29 April 1981, lot 23; Sotheby's, 20 July 1989, lot 232.
THE RESTORED KING RECOMMENDS A COURTIER'S SUIT. 'I heare my Lord Buckhurst is a suitor to you, who besides all other relations, and the greate merritt of his family towards me, is more particularly in my care, being my godsone'; the King therefore recommends Buckhurst's suit, assuring the recipient 'if you shall make him you[r] husband, I am persuaded you will [be] happy together', and promises that their concerns will meet with 'all the care and kindnesse from me that you can wish'.
Charles's affectionate attention to the details of a courtier's private life is all the more remarkable in that he had only returned to London and been restored to the throne three days previously, on 29 May 1660 (his thirtieth birthday). The poet and politician Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset and 1st Earl of Middlesex (known before 1675 by his courtesy title of Lord Buckhurst) was close to Charles II, his mother having been tutor to the children of Charles I. He played a prominent role in the 'institutionalised hedonism' (ODNB) of the royal inner circle after the Restoration. He was only 17 at the date of this letter; his first marriage in fact did not take place until 1674. The unidentified Mrs Doddington may be a relative of George Bubb Dodington, 1st Baron Melcombe (1691-1762).
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