Site unseen: THE GARRISON CHURCH, PORTSMOUTH
Tuesday 20 December 1994
Where did all this not take place? Not London or Windsor but in the naval town of Portsmouth, where Charles II married Catherine of Braganza - in the Garrison Church.
After his restoration to the throne two years earlier, Charles had cut a swathe through the court beauties, amassing several illegitimate children who were later fobbed off with titles and chunks of land.
His choice of wife, however, was a diplomatic affair and Catherine of Braganza was judged to be the best bet to help ward off danger from Holland and Spain. Neither bride nor groom had met. Catherine was shipped over from Portugal with a retinue of virginal ladies.
St Thomas's, the parish church of Portsmouth (and now the cathedral), was in a terrible state after being bombarded by Cromwell's parliamentary forces during the Civil War. Fortunately, there was another church close at hand, Domus Dei, which had once been a hospice for travellers and the sick.
Here it was, on Wednesday 21 May 1662, that the Merrie Monarch was married. Had the old lecher finally met his match? Unfortunately, no. She loved him, he loved many others. They had no children and the Stuart regime soon came to an ignominious end. As for the church, it was bombed in the Second World War and is now being restored.
But might the history of England have been different if Charles had not had that headache?
The Garrison Church is in Penny Street, Portsmouth.
Bannatyne leaves Dragon's DenTV
They're back, they're big – and they're still spectacularly boringfilm
Review: How to Build a Girlbooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let’s see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Scottish independence: Former pro-union voters explain why they changed their minds to the Yes vote
- 3 Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
- 4 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 5 Pornhub pleads with users to stop uploading videos of Brazil 'getting f**ked by Germany' in the World Cup
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories