Richard Cromwell

Portrait of Cromwell

Richard Cromwell (October 4, 1626July 12, 1712) was the third son of Oliver Cromwell, and the second Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland, for little over eight months, from September 3, 1658 until May 25, 1659. Richard Cromwell's enemies called him Tumbledown Dick.

Richard was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, thus distinguishing him as the only English head of state to have graduated from a university.

Richard was an unlikely successor, coming to prominence only because his two elder brothers both died before their father. Having previously sat in Parliament, but only having joined the Council of State a year before his appointment as Protector, he had neither the political experience nor the interest required to maintain his position. He gave it up with little hesitation, resigning or "abdicating" after a demand by the Rump Parliament. This was the beginning of a short period of restoration of the Commonwealth of England but led to a state of anarchy that resulted in the return of the exiled King Charles II of England and the English Restoration. Unlike his father, Richard was not held accountable for the death of King Charles I. He retired to obscurity, going into exile in continental Europe under the soubriquet of "John Clarke", but returning in 1680 to live out the remainder of his life in Britain.

Preceded by:
Oliver Cromwell
Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland
Succeeded by:
The Commonwealth


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