Great Fire of London: State Opening Speech

Great Fire of London: State Opening Speech
  • Title: House of Lords Journal: King Charles II State Opening Speech making reference to the fire

  • Date : 21 September 1666

  • Catalogue number : Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/JO/1/52

  • Description :

    The 1661 Cavalier Parliament played a key role in supporting the King, following the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.  But by the time of the Great Fire there was disillusionment over the conduct of King Charles II, as war against the Dutch led to rises in taxation. Many Parliamentarians who were averse to his kingship saw the despondency resulting from the Great Fire as an opportunity to curb his absolutist rule. There were also accusations relating to his reluctance to suppress worship by Roman Catholics.

    It was in this atmosphere the King made his State Opening of Parliament address on 21 September 1666, dying embers of the fire still aglow in corners of the city. His speech drew on the religious overtones that had attached itself to the disaster as he spoke of ‘the dismal Ruins the Fire hath made; and nothing but a Miracle of GOD'S Mercy could have preserved what is left from the same Destruction’.

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