Charles II in Exile: Brugge

And now, to steal a phrase from Monty Python, for something completely different...

Portrait of Henry, Duke of Gloucester at Royal Guild of Saint-Sebastian

It is spring 1656, Charles II along with his brothers Henry, Duke of Gloucester and James, Duke of York arrive in Brugge. Charles had fled England in 1651 after his defeat at Worcester, he originally lived near Paris, then moved to Cologne, before ending up in Brugge.

The time that Charles spent in Brugge recently hit the headlines when Belgian fishermen tested the right to fish in British waters post Brexit: Charles had granted 50 Flemish fishermen from Brugge “eternal rights” to English fishing waters, as a way of thanking the city for its hospitality.
the time keeping apparatus on top of Huis Bouchoute

Charles was originally housed in Huis Bouchoute, which is now more famous for its role in the standardisation of Belgian timekeeping.

Grand Hotel Casselbergh is more widely known as Charles's residence whilst in Brugge. This upmarket hotel boasts a memorial to Charles, the Lifeguards, and the Grenadier Guards, who Charles founded as Royal Regiments .

Charles and his brothers became interested in the Bruges militia guilds. Charles II, his brother Henry and some English officers joined the Saint-Sebastian Guild in August 1656 and regularly took part in their archery activities.

Fireplace in the King's Hall at Royal Guild of Saint-Sebastian

The Royal Guild of Saint-Sebastian has a number of items celebrating Charles's connection with the guild. The King's Hall is dominated by a Charles II themed fireplace: the hall was built with the money given to the Guild by Charles after his restoration. The Guild can be visited 'by appointment only' see here for details.

Addresses for SatNavs

Huis Bouchoute, Markt 15, 8000 Brugge
Grand Hotel Casselbergh, Hoogstraat 6, 8000 Brugge
Royal Guild of Saint-Sebastian, Carmersstraat 174, 8000 Brugge

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