A rare 17th-century manuscript, which was key to the restoration of the British monarchy under King Charles II a decade after the execution of his father, will be auctioned next month, coinciding with the coronation of his current namesake.
The Declaration of Breda was issued by Charles II from the Netherlands in 1660, offering reconciliation and a general pardon for crimes committed during the English Civil War which saw Charles I ousted and later executed, and Britain briefly become a republic under Oliver Cromwell.
One of two surviving copies is to go under the hammer in May at London auction house Sotheby’s, a couple of days before the current monarch King Charles III is crowned at London’s Westminster Abbey.
“Alongside the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, this is one of a small number of transformational royal documents that have changed royal power forever, and as such it is the most important of its kind to ever appear for public sale,” said Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s Manuscripts specialist.
“It is through this declaration that in 1660 the monarchy was re-established and the terms by which they would rule agreed, which still apply today, 350 years later as Charles III ascends the throne.”
Sotheby’s said five copies of the declaration were made, with the only other surviving one kept in the parliamentary archives.
The copy up for auction, with an estimated price of between 400,000 and 600,000 pounds ($500,000 and $750,000), was sent to the navy where it was read to the fleet by famous diarist Samuel Pepys in his role as secretary to General at Sea Edward Montagu.