Samuel Pepys view of Charles II

"Their first meetings ... were on board ship in May 1660, during the voyage that brought the King back from exile, and it was their comon concern with the navy that formed the basois of their association throughout the reign. Both came to identify themselves with the conviction that control of the seas was the principal part of national greatness." Robert Latham

In exile Charles had learned to sail and he grew up with a taste for navigation and ship design. He had a hand in the design of royal yachts and took pleasure in inspecting the ships on the river Medway or the Fleet at Portsmouth.

"Throughout ... Pepys was one of the King's indispensable men of business - by 1673 the most indispensable of all. During the Dutch war of the 1660's Pepys had to explain Navy Office business to the Privy Council. In the last years of his life, 1677-9 Pepys and Charles virtually controlled everything without reference to the Commission.

In 1683 the King appointed Pepys to the expedition sent to evacuate Tangier. In 1684 Pepys was appointed Secretary for the affairs of the Admiralty, becoming virtually a secretary of state.

"Pepys was under no illusions about the weaknesses of his master - his laziness, his self-indulgence, his extravagance, his irresponsibility. But writing after Charles' death he gave his final verdict in terms of praise : 'It ... had ... pleased God to give us a King ... that understood the sea.' "