That Fun Loving Charlie and His Dogs

By all accounts, Charlie was lively child, exuberant and inclined to have fun. This extended into his adulthood, by not by much. By eighteen, he was romantically involved with “Lucy,” whom he never married, but with whom he had a child.  Charlie liked a good many woman “that way,” including Barbara, Moll, Elizabeth, Nell, Catherine, and Louise, all of whom bore his children (and those are just the ones we know about).

At thirty one, his father died, and Charlie took over the family business. Despite office politics and a dicey political climate, Charlie brought his spirit of fun, exuberance, and maybe a bit of hedonism, into the work place. He was already besotted with dogs, a trait he likely picked up from his father, and which Minette, his sister, also shared. In fact, when Minette died, Charlie made arrangements to have all her small spaniels transported to England and into his arms. Charlie was trailblazer for having been most likely the very first person to participate in, “bring your dog to work” day, because no matter the occasion, the dogs went everywhere Charlie went, including important board meetings. This irked unsympathetic co-workers to no end, but everyone else adored Charlie for the unabashed love he showered upon his dogs, and called him “Merry” for this trait.

Maybe by now, you may have detected that we’ve modernized a very old story (if not butchered it), but the salient details are accurate. Charlie was Charles II of England who took over the “family business” when his father was beheaded. He really did adore his dogs, so much so that the little spaniels were given his name, the King Charles Spaniel. He really did get his sister’s dogs when “Minette,” also known as Henrietta Maria, the wife of Louis XIV of France, died suddenly, and he really did take the dogs to court, council rooms, the royal bedchambers and even to church. Legend tells us that by royal decree, the wee dogs were allowed to enter any court of law unchallenged. The fact that he “might be seen before the dew was off the grass in St. James’ Park, striding through the trees, playing with his spaniels and flinging corn to his ducks,” also endeared Charles to his subjects who referred to him affectionately as “The Merrie Monarch.”  And now you know.

“Lady Bug Conroy” by Kimberly McSparran is available as a print here

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