Richard Cromwell
At the same time, the officers of the New Model Army
New Model Army
The New Model Army of England was formed in 1645 by the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War, and was disbanded in 1660 after the Restoration...

 became increasingly wary about the government's commitment to the military cause. The fact that Richard Cromwell lacked military credentials grated with men who had fought on the battlefields of the English Civil War to secure their nation's liberties. Moreover, the new Parliament seemed to show a lack of respect for the army which many military men found quite alarming. In particular, there were fears that Parliament would make military cuts to reduce costs, and by April 1659 the army’s general council of officers had met to demand higher taxation to fund the regime’s costs.

Their grievances were expressed in a petition to Richard Cromwell on 6 April 1659 which he forwarded to the Parliament two days later. Yet Parliament did not act on the army's suggestions; instead they shelved this petition and increased the suspicion of the military by bringing articles of impeachment against William Boteler
William Boteler
William Boteler was a Colonel of Horse in the New Model Army during the English Civil War. By the end of the war, Boteler had been appointed Major-General for Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland during the Rule of the Major-Generals....

 on 12 April 1659, who was alleged to have mistreated a royalist prisoner while acting as a Major General under Oliver Cromwell in 1655. This was followed by two resolutions in the Commons on 18 April 1659 which stated that no more meetings of army officers should take place without the express permission of both the Lord Protector and Parliament, and that all officers should swear an oath that they would not subvert the sitting of Parliament by force.

These direct affronts to military prestige were too much for the army grandees to bear and set in motion the final split between the civilian-dominated Parliament and the army, which would culminate in the dissolution of Parliament and Richard Cromwell's ultimate fall from power. When Richard refused a demand by the army to dissolve Parliament, troops were assembled at St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace is one of London's oldest palaces. It is situated in Pall Mall, just north of St. James's Park. Although no sovereign has resided there for almost two centuries, it has remained the official residence of the Sovereign and the most senior royal palace in the UK...

. Richard eventually gave in to their demands and on 22 April, Parliament was dissolved and the Rump Parliament
Rump Parliament
The Rump Parliament is the name of the English Parliament after Colonel Pride purged the Long Parliament on 6 December 1648 of those members hostile to the Grandees' intention to try King Charles I for high treason....

 recalled on 7 May 1659.

In the subsequent month Richard did not resist and refused an offer of armed assistance from the French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 ambassador, although it is possible he was being kept under house arrest by the army. On 25 May, after the Rump agreed to pay his debts and provide a pension, Richard delivered a formal letter resigning the position of Lord Protector. "Richard was never formally deposed or arrested, but allowed to fade away. The Protectorate was treated as having been from the first a mere usurpation".
He continued to live in Whitehall Palace until July, when he was forced by the Rump to return to Hursley. Royalists rejoiced at Richard's fall and many satirical attacks surfaced in which he was given the unflattering nicknames 'Tumble Down Dick' and 'Queen Dick'.

Later years (1659–1712)

During the political difficulties of the winter of 1659, there were rumours that Richard was to be recalled as Protector, but these came to nothing. In July 1660 Richard left for France, never to see his wife again. While there he went by a variety of pseudonyms, including “John Clarke”. He later travelled around Europe, visiting various European courts. As a visiting Englishman he was once invited to dine with the prince of Conti
Armand de Bourbon, prince de Conti
Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti was a French nobleman, the second son of Henry II, Prince of Condé and brother of Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé and Anne Genevieve, Duchess of Longueville. As a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, he was a Prince du Sang.The title of Prince de Conti...

 who was unaware of who he was. At dinner the prince questioned Richard about affairs in England and observed - "Well that Oliver, tho' he was a traitor and a villain, was a brave man, had great parts, great courage, and was worthy to command; but that Richard, that coxcomb and poltroon, was surely the basest fellow alive; what is become of that fool? " Richard replied "He was betrayed by those he most trusted, and who had been most obliged by his father." Richard departed the following morning. During this period of voluntary exile he wrote many letters to his family back in England; these letters are now held by Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies
Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies
Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies Service is a UK local government institution which collects and preserves archives, other historical documents and printed material relating to the modern county of Cambridgeshire, which includes the former counties of Huntingdonshire and the Isle of Ely...

 at the County Record Office in Huntingdon.

In 1680 or 1681 he returned to England and lodged with the merchant Thomas Pengelly
Thomas Pengelly (merchant)
Thomas Pengelly was a wealthy British merchant of the 17th century who traded with the Eastern Mediterranean and the Atlantic Seaboard...

 in Finchley
Finchley is a district in Barnet in north London, England. Finchley is on high ground, about north of Charing Cross. It formed an ancient parish in the county of Middlesex, becoming a municipal borough in 1933, and has formed part of Greater London since 1965...

 in Middlesex
Middlesex is one of the historic counties of England and the second smallest by area. The low-lying county contained the wealthy and politically independent City of London on its southern boundary and was dominated by it from a very early time...

, living off the income from his estate in Hursley. He died on 12 July 1712 at the age of 85 years, 282 days (31,327 days). This makes him the longest-lived "ruler" of Great Britain, although his nine-month reign was one of the shortest.

Fictional portrayals

Richard Cromwell has been depicted in historical films. They include:
  • Cromwell
    Cromwell (film)
    Cromwell is a 1970 film, based on the life of Oliver Cromwell who led the Parliamentary forces during the English Civil War and, as Lord Protector, ruled Great Britain and Ireland in the 1650s. It features an all-star cast led by Richard Harris as Cromwell and Alec Guinness as King Charles I...

    (1970). Portrayed by actor Anthony May
    Anthony May
    Anthony May is a British stage, television and film actor. He attended Ottershaw School, Surrey. May trained at R.A.D.A. from 1965 to 1967....

  • To Kill a King
    To Kill a King
    To Kill a King is a UK 2003 English Civil War film directed by Mike Barker, starring Tim Roth and Dougray Scott. It relates the relationship between Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Fairfax in the post-war period from 1648 until the former's death, in 1658. It deals with the corruption of Parliament...

    (2003). Portrayed by actor John-Paul Macleod. The film was considered "the first intelligent movie treatment of British history for many a year" but received an extremely limited release. The film deals with the consequences of regicide, revolt and "the failure of revolutionary movements". James Chapman
    James Chapman (historian)
    James Chapman is a British media historian who has written a number of books on cinema and television. Chapman is Director of Film Studies and the Visual Arts at the University of Leicester.-Biography:...

     argues that the general public would be more interested in "narratives of national greatness" instead of a close look at the English Civil War
    English Civil War
    The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...



External links

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