In 1649 Charles I was executed. During the period 1649 to 1660, England was a Republic governed by Oliver Cromwell, the Lord Protector. The restoration of Charles I's son, Charles II, to the throne in 1660 ushered in a period of great opulence in English art, architecture and design. Charles II and his followers had spent the years of exile in France and The Netherlands and on their return brought with them a taste for the latest European styles. Foreign-trained artists and craftspeople working in England also used flamboyant forms and rich materials.