King Charles II
King Charles II was considered a gambling man, not only in card games but in the moves he made to restore the English Monarchy. Born on the 29 May 1630 and referred to as the “Merry King’. In 1679 Charles II dissolved Parliament as he was tired of conflict and ruled alone for his remaining years and his years of reign in English history are known as the Restoration period.
This beguiling Ruler had his childhood ripped away from him by the Civil War, and the execution of his father in 1649 shattered his world.
King Charles II Favourite Form of Gambling
King Charles II considered himself a somewhat professional Jockey. He was obsessed with sport and placing bets on horse racing. He even built a palace for his convenience at Newmarket, the racecourse he frequented. Today Newmarket is considered the headquarters of British Horseracing and hosts two of England’s five Classic Races, the 1000 and the 2000 Guineas.
Gambling was so popular amongst British Royalty that King Charles II and many other Monarchs had their own personal croupier named Sir Thomas Neale. He provided royalty with cards, dice and would oversee the bets and payouts between Kings and their subjects. He also found opponents for the King that were more than willing to lose, which kept The King happy and entertained continuously.
Gambling during this era:
The aristocracy believed gambling set a bad precedent and did not want the lower class to come into wealth. Particularly not via this channel and King Charles II shut down all gambling dens throughout London. Furthermore, he ensured the commoners had no access to any form of gambling. The Monarchy also thought such activities disrupted society and distracted them from working. Only members of the Royal Court were allowed to gamble.