To play the king was an exceptionally demanding role in early modern Europe. The difficulty sprang from the pressure of satisfying three distinct audiences: a monarch’s own subjects; his royal peers in other states; and posterity. This was the harsh reality facing any king but the scale of the challenges facing Charles II was unusually high. For all the initial jubilation surrounding the Restoration the task of maintaining the regard of a people deeply divided by 20 years of chronic political crisis, bloody civil war, and bewildering constitutional changes would have taxed even the most brilliant ruler. Once a thousand years of monarchy had been temporarily eclipsed by a republic could its appearance of timeless invulnerability ever be rebuilt? As the Anglican cleric John Glanvill opined in 1667 with the aid of a homespun analogy:
Though government may be fixed again upon its foundations and laws turned into their ancient channel after the violence they have suffered, yet they lose much of their reverence and strength by such disestablishment. And the people that have rebelled once and successfully will be ready to do so often. As water that hath been boiled will boil again the sooner.