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Anyone who believes that crime doesn't pay has obviously never tried to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. In 1671, an Irishman named Thomas Blood enacted a plot to steal the prized bounty that entailed ingratiating himself with the jewels' guard, Talbot Edwards, and then bringing in several accomplices to attempt the most daring theft in British history. Needless to say, they didn't get far.
While they managed to get Edwards to unlock the jewels before knocking him out cold, the group fumbled with the loot and were stopped before getting out of the compound. This, however, is when things got truly strange. Blood refused to answer to anyone except King Charles II and was brought to the palace, where the king, his cousin Prince Rupert, and others heard him out. Charles, clearly charmed, asked Blood what he would do if given his life. Blood replied that he would "endeavor to deserve it." With that, Charles not only freed Blood, but also gave him a homestead in Ireland. Historical scholars have long debated why Charles was so lenient with Blood, and no doubt many other thieves have wondered why they weren't so lucky after they were caught.
Charles II, the Merry Monarch:
- Charles II brought Christmas back to a nation that had been deprived of such celebrations by the austere rule of Oliver Cromwell.
- Charles II faced the twin calamities of the Great Plague of London in 1665 and the Great Fire of London in 1666.
- Charles II was known as the "Merry Monarch" for his good nature and the lively hedonism of his reign.