Meet the Merry Monarch at the Royal Armouries in Leeds this Bank Holiday weekend

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His Majesty King Charles II is visiting the Royal Armouries for a Bank Holiday weekend of entertainment.

Visitors to the museum will be able to enjoy special horse shows featuring drills, dressage and racing for the King’s pleasure. Known as the ‘Merry Monarch’, King Charles brought about the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660 following the death of Oliver Cromwell and the end of the Commonwealth (1649 – 60). Charles reigned for almost 25 years and was renowned for his lavish lifestyle, enjoying grand parties, mistresses, and sport, particularly horse racing.

Charles and his famous mistress Nell Gwyn will be in residence throughout the weekend and visitors are invited to an audience with the king in the museum’s temporary throne room. The event, from August 24-26, will also feature pike and musket demonstrations, sword duelling, tours of the weapons and armour of the period, talks and dramatic performances. For younger visitors there will be royal craft activities and early years storytelling.

At noon and 3pm each day visitors can join King Charles for a thrilling showcase of ‘the sport of kings’. The museum’s outdoor arena will play host to special horse shows as Charles’ flamboyant Life Guard drill, dress and race for the King’s pleasure. The museum’s outdoor square will also be transformed with a maze fit for a monarch where visitors can get lost in history while the Royal Armouries newly refurbished restaurant, The Master’s, will be serving a range of delicious meals, snacks and hot drinks.

Mark Jackson, events and informal learning manager, said: “We are really excited to be bringing the next instalment of our Monarchs season of events to the museum this August Bank Holiday. The Merry Monarch will certainly be bringing a lot of fun, with action-packed horse shows that are quite different to our usual outdoor shows, showcasing a range of riding skills including dressage and horse racing. The event will be great entertainment for all of the family.”

The event is free to attend, however tickets for the horse shows must be bought in advance from For more information, visit