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Actor portraying Barbara Villiers shows off two women to an actor portraying Charles II

Recap: 5 most dramatic moments from 'Royal Kill List' episode two

It's time to take a look back at the most dramatic moments from the second episode of Royal Kill List. The explosive three-part series features storytelling from three of Britain's finest actors - Sheila Atim, Jared Harris and Joseph Fiennes.

Image: Barbara Villiers (C) was one of Charles II's (L) favourite mistresses | Royal Kill List

Sky HISTORY’s Royal Kill List is a revolutionary new documentary-drama series that tells the story of Charles II’s first few years on the throne. After spending almost a decade in exile while England was a Republic, Charles returned to the country to restore the monarchy in 1660.

One of his main priorities was hunting down the men responsible for his father’s death and getting revenge. The first episode of Royal Kill List followed Charles as he started to put his plan into action and publicly executed the first of the Regicides.

The second episode continued in a similar fashion, as Charles became more determined than ever to spill the blood of the men he considered to be traitors – no matter what it took.

Royal Kill List concludes with the third and final episode on Tuesday, 26th March at 9pm. However, Sky and Virgin customers can catch up on demand now.

Here are five of the most dramatic moments from the second episode of Royal Kill List.

1. Chaos and Rebellion

An actor portraying Charles II
Image: Charles II | Royal Kill List

The episode is aptly titled ‘Chaos and Rebellion’ as it got underway with scenes of violence and lawlessness on the streets of London. Following the execution of Thomas Harrison, a prominent member of a religious sect of fanatics called the Fifth Monarchists, and nine other Regicides, anti-Royalists terrorised the city. Charles II’s vendetta was backfiring, so he did everything he could to stamp out the rebellion. This included breaking up meetings of religious minorities and arresting prominent Republicans, such as Henry Vane who worked closely with Oliver Cromwell and tried to prevent the restoration of the monarchy, even if they weren’t Regicides.

To distract the public from the turmoil, Charles decided to stage the most ambitious and lavish coronation in history. The procession was so grand it took five hours to complete. People flocked to the streets to catch a glimpse of their new king and the country had never seen celebrations on this scale ever before. All of the grandeur came at a cost though and Charles was quickly running out of money.

2. Edmund Ludlow crosses Europe

Actor portraying Edmund Ludlow
Image: Edmund Ludlow | Royal Kill List

As one of the biggest oppositions to the monarchy, Edmund Ludlow was at the top of Charles II’s kill list. He fled to France, a deeply Catholic country which was incredibly dangerous for an English protestant. Combined with the significant bounty on his head, this meant Ludlow needed to keep his wits about him to avoid being killed. One particularly violent scene saw Ludlow fighting with Catholics in a tavern before waiting outside and stabbing one of them to death.

He used an underground network of Protestant sympathisers to help him move from safe house to safe house, with the eventual goal of making it to Switzerland, a Republican country. Meanwhile, his wife, Elizabeth, was back in the UK helping to send him money and spreading the word of the rebellion. Eventually, Ludlow crossed the border into the relative safety of Switzerland, but he was not out of the woods yet.

3. Sleeping with the enemy

Actors portraying George Downing and Charles II
Image: George Downing (L) and Charles II (R) | Royal Kill List

Charles was getting desperate in his hunt for Ludlow and was growing more and more concerned about the messages he was spreading overseas. Therefore, he turned to the help of a man who was the epitome of the enemy, much to the displeasure of his chief advisor, Edward Hyde.

George Downing was one of Oliver Cromwell’s most trusted spies and operated mainly in the Netherlands. No one had done more than Downing to bring down the king and he was responsible for the deaths of many of the king’s friends. Now, the two were working together. Downing used his extensive spy network on the continent to find out which merchants were passing notes between the Regicides. Once this was accomplished, he forged letters from the Regicides’ wives to suggest a meeting. Three agreed and fell perfectly into Downing’s trap.

4. More bloody executions

Actors portraying Edward Hyde and Charles II
Image: Edward Hyde (L) and Charles II (R) | Royal Kill List

The three Regicides caught by Downing were John Okey, John Barkstead and Miles Corbet. They were quickly shipped back to England and publicly executed in a similarly brutal fashion to the other Regicides. But following this latest round of violent executions, the public appeared to be growing tired of Charles’ personal revenge mission. A peaceful vigil was organised in the name of Okey, to remember him and show opposition to the king’s brutality.

It's rumoured that 20,000 gathered for the vigil, which could have signalled the start of a very serious uprising. In an attempt to deter the public from joining his opposition, Charles ordered the execution of Henry Vane, despite previously promising parliament that he wouldn’t. Vane was a non-violent member of the Fifth Monarchists and even opposed the execution of Charles I. This death led vast swathes of the public to see Charles II as a tyrant, some of his biggest supporters turning their back on him and his enemies uniting even more than before.

5. Algernon Sidney: A man in search of a purpose

An actor portraying Algernon Sidney
Image: Algernon Sidney | Royal Kill List

Throughout the episode, Charles started to target Algernon Sidney, a friend of the Republicans who also served as the commissioner at the trial of Charles I. Sidney was residing in Rome where he was planning his next ambitious move to make a name for himself on the world stage. Charles was certain that Sidney knew where Ludlow was, so he sent Downing to bring him back to England.

After having a conversation with Sidney which ended with him refusing to leave Italy, Downing realised he needed to be a bit more forceful. But his kidnapping attempt of Sidney went wrong, with the young man killing one of his would-be abductors. Sidney went on the run and vowed to avenge the death of his mentor, Henry Vane. He wrote, ‘Let there be revenge for the blood of the just’, before hunting down Ludlow himself and forming an alliance that could be devastating for Charles II.

The third and final episode of Royal Kill List airs Tuesday, 26th March at 9pm on Sky HISTORY. Sky and Virgin customers are available to catch up on demand now.