[CHARLES II (1630-1685), King of England]. Illuminated manuscript, ELEVATING SUSAN BELASYSE to the rank of Baroness Belasyse of Osgodby, Westminster, 1 April 1674. 1 page, 581 x 775 mm. (23 x 30¼ in.), ON FINE PARCHMENT, written in Latin in a clear court hand, WITH EXTENSIVE BURNISHED GOLD DECORATION: the first line of text elaborately decorated with engrossed majuscules, LARGE INITIAL "C" ENCLOSING A PORTRAIT OF THE KING with long black hair, mustache, in ermine-trimmed robes, surrounded by intricate gold calligraphic flourishes; upper margin elaborately decorated with crowned lions, unicorn and Royal arms; left margin decorated with large arms of England and France, right margin with the arms of Scotland and Ireland; remnants of wax seal on a silver and gold intwined cord; the parchment with very minor creasing, portrait slighty rubbed with minor loss, in a fine giltwood frame.
AN UNUSUALLY RICHLY ILLUMINATED GRANT OF CHARLES II, WITH PORTRAIT, IN FAVOR OF A WOMAN HE HAD COURTED. A document which directly relates to one of the King's abortive matrimonial campaigns. As narrated by Gilbert Burnet, "the Duke [of York, later James II] was now  looking for another wife. He made addresses to Lady Bellasis ... a zealous protestant [and] a woman of much life and vivacity, but of a very small proportion of beauty ... The King [Charles I], sent for the Duke, and told him it was too much that he had played the fool once: that was not to be done a second time, and at such an age. The lady was also so threatened that she gave up the promise, but kept an attested copy of it" (Burnet, A History of his own Time). Lady Belasyse was said to have received the peerage as a reward for her forbearance. Burnet's reference to James's having "played the fool once" is to his first marriage, to the unpopular Anne Hyde, daughter of the 1st Earl of Clarendon: curiously, she too was generally described as vivacious but not beautiful.