Prince Charles's money problems

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Charles as Prince of Wales, painted by William Dobson in 1642, four years before his first visit to Jersey

The visits of the future King Charles II to Jersey during the English Civil War are well documented. What is not altogether clear is what financial arrangements were made for the Prince, who at that time did not seem to have any money of his own.

Sir Edward Hyde

Before he arrived in Jersey in 1646 there was correspondence between the Prince’s guardian, Sir Edward Hyde, and the Governor, Lord Jermyn, in an attempt to secure some temporary funds for the Prince, but eventually it appears that he was given a loan of 1500 postolles (£1,200) in Jersey, although it is not clear where the money came from.

It seems that Bailiff Sir George Carteret may have raised a loan on the Prince’s behalf; there is no evidence that it was officially sanctioned by the States or Royal Court and came out of taxation.

Generosity to troops

However the money was sourced, it enabled Charles to be generous while in Jersey. During his Grand Review of all the island’s troops on 29 April 1646 he gave 600 livres tournois (£50) to be divided among all the companies and a further 300 livres to be divided among the companies commanded by Sir George and Sir Philippe de Carteret.

He gave 50 pistolles (£40) towards the repair of the tower of St Aubin’s Fort and sent money to the troops at Castle Cornet in Guernsey, who were holding out against the Parliamentarian forces which occupied the remainder of that island.

Another loan

His funds must have been rapidly exhausted, a boat sending money to the beseiged Pendennis Castle in Cornwall being captured by Parliamentarians, and when he came to leave Jersey for France at his mother’s request he apparently needed to borrow another 400 pistolles from Sir George Carteret, although history does not record whether this request was granted.

It seems that Charles’s subsequent munificence towards Sir George when, as King, he granted him the territory which became New Jersey, may have involved the settlement of debts rather than just the friendship of the two men.

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