We’re all looking forward to the coronation of King Charles III on 6 May, but did you know that King Charles II of England was a coffee lover? He was introduced to the drink in 1662 by his brother, the Duke of York, who had brought it back from a trip to the Ottoman Empire. Charles was so taken with coffee that he ordered his servants to make him a cup every morning.
Charles's love of coffee led to the establishment of the earliest coffee houses in England. The first coffee house, named Pasqua Rosee's, opened in Oxford in 1650, while the first coffee house in London, The Grecian Coffee House, opened in 1652. Charles even had a coffee house built in his palace.
This growing coffee culture was not without controversy. Some people believed that coffee was a dangerous drink that could lead to addiction and moral decay, and in 1675 Charles even issued a proclamation suppressing all coffee houses in England.
He feared that coffee houses were hotbeds of political dissent and that they were encouraging people to drink too much coffee. The edict read that coffee houses 'have produced very evil and dangerous effects' and were also a 'disturbance of the peace and quiet realm'.
Despite the ban, coffee continued to grow in popularity in England during Charles's reign. By the time of his death in 1685 there were more than 2,000 coffee houses in London alone. Coffee had therefore become a staple of English life and it remains so to this day.