Charles II, 1660–73
When Richard Cromwell succeeded his father in September 1658, the prospect of a restoration of the monarchy still seemed a distant one. Yet, although his succession was unopposed, the new Protector’s long-term position was undermined by the fact that he had no real links with the army. His father’s strength had relied heavily upon his control of the military, yet Richard was unable to command the same degree of loyalty or authority over them. His reaction was to side with anti-army MPs, led by Haselrig and Vane, who proposed in April 1659 that both the political activities of the army and the extent of religious toleration should be restricted. The army’s response was swift and decisive. The day after Parliament had finished voting on the proposals, the army, led by Generals Fleetwood and Lambert, forced Richard to dissolve it and then to abdicate himself. The Protectorate was at an end.