) (October 4, 1626- July 12, 1712) was the third son of Oliver
Cromwell, and was Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland, from
September 3, 1658 until May 25, 1659.
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 on the Continent under the
soubriquet of "John Clarke", but returning in 1680 to live out the remainder
of his life in Britain.