The Disgrace of Lord Clarendon, after his Last Interview with the King - Scene at Whitehall Palace, in 1667
By Edward Matthew Ward
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon (1609-1674) was Lord High Chancellor to Charles II, who was one of England’s most colourful and profligate kings. Clarendon was dismissed both as a result of Charles’s general neglect of national affairs and because of a court conspiracy against him. The break between the two men took place on 30 August 1667. In this picture, Clarendon is seen leaving the King’s palace at Whitehall. The back of Charles can be seen in the distance. Members of the court look on, rejoicing in Clarendon’s fall.
I think the Tate people are wrong to say that Charles neglected his country, but he was looking for an excuse to get rid of Clarendon, and after the failure of the most recent Anglo-Dutch War he found it. It’s one of the few things (along with the Bedchamber Incident) where I don’t defend Charles’s actions.
The part about him neglecting national affairs annoyed me too, because I really don’t think it’s true. I thought about putting my own wording on this post but was conscious that I might be being biased towards Charles (as I usually am). But I really think this stuff that you always hear about him being lazy and neglectful are overstated.
I do feel sorry for old Clarendon though, especially when I think about how Barbara gloated at his fall.
Speaking of Edward Hyde, first Earl of Clarendon, Mercurius Politicus celebrates his birthday.