King Charles II, also known as the Merry Monarch, was known for his extravagant lifestyle and love for pleasure. One area of his life that has piqued the curiosity of many historians is his drinking habits. What did King Charles II drink? The answer to this question is a fascinating glimpse into the life and times of this colorful monarch.
During the Restoration period in 17th century England, wine and spirits were an important part of social life. King Charles II was known to enjoy a wide variety of alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer, and spirits. He was particularly fond of claret, a type of red wine that was popular with the English aristocracy at the time. Charles II also had a taste for fortified wines such as Madeira and port, which were imported from Portugal and became fashionable during his reign.
In addition to wine, King Charles II was known to enjoy drinking beer. Ale and beer were the most popular alcoholic drinks in England at the time, and the king would have had access to a variety of brews, including strong ales and malty porters. In fact, one of his favorite beers was a type of strong ale known as “King’s Ale,” which was brewed specifically for the royal court.
When it came to spirits, King Charles II had a preference for brandy and rum. Brandy, a type of distilled wine, was imported from France and was considered a luxurious and sophisticated drink. Rum, on the other hand, was a new and exotic import from the Caribbean, and its popularity was on the rise during Charles II’s reign.
One of the most famous stories about King Charles II’s drinking habits involves his introduction to champagne. Legend has it that the king’s visit to France in 1660 led to his discovery of this sparkling wine, which quickly became a favorite at the English court. This story may be apocryphal, but it certainly speaks to the reputation of Charles II as a connoisseur of fine wines and spirits.
In conclusion, King Charles II was known to enjoy a wide variety of alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer, and spirits. His fondness for claret, fortified wines, and strong ales reflects the drinking preferences of the English aristocracy during the Restoration period. His introduction to champagne and his penchant for brandy and rum further illustrate his sophisticated and cosmopolitan tastes. Understanding what King Charles II drank provides insight into the social and cultural milieu of 17th century England, and it adds a colorful dimension to our understanding of this fascinating monarch.