General George Monck.
William Cavendish - Marquis of Newcastle. London.
William left Antwerp only when the Restoration of the Monarchy was confirmed. He has never been at the centre of the exiled power base whilst abroad and, if he had hopes for high office on his return, he was soon to be disappointed. Whilst influential he had been too far outside the inner circle involving himself in his own many and varied interests to be considered one of the major candidates for high office. There were plenty ahead of him and in any case the new King wished to reward many of the major defectors to his cause in England who had made his return possible. Prominent amongst these was General Monck who had marched on London to dissolve Parliament and force an election paving the way for the King’s return. Monck was appointed Master of the Horse, a position that William would have dearly loved and was eminently qualified to fill.
The Duke of York invited William to accompany the royal party on their return but William declined preferring to hire his own ship. It is indicative of the continuing impecunious state of his finances that this ship was barely sea worthy and was lost next voyage. Many of his party refused to go near it. Margaret was forced to stay in Antwerp as security for his debts. The ship was becalmed for several days but on sailing up the Thames William was greatly moved to return to his home and is reported as saying
“ Jog me and wake me out of my dream.”
On disembarking at Greenwich he was met by his son Henry who had expected him with the royal party at Dover and, hearing he was had earlier set off in such in unseaworthy vessel, had feared him lost. Within 2 days William was back in his seat in the House of Lords to hear the King address the members of both Houses.
In August a bill was introduced in Parliament restoring all William’s titles, manors and lands. The Earl of Bristol spoke eloquently in favour of William praising his unflinching loyalty to the Crown during the difficult days of exile. The Duke of Buckingham took offence at an inferred affront to his own actions and objected strongly. A duel was only just avoided. The Bill was quickly passed and received royal assent in September.
It was clear that William would now find no favour at Court with no possibility of any significant appointment so he concentrated on more pressing personal and financial matters. His debts in Antwerp, amounting to £5000, were settled and Margaret returned home. They moved from his lodgings in London to Dorset House whilst William settled other outstanding matters in London.
Much to Margaret’s delight he then decided it was time to retire from public life for good and move back to Welbeck and Bolsover. He applied to the King for permission to leave the court which was granted as a formality. The King saw no place for a 60 year old aristocrat in the new order no matter how loyal or wise his counsel. As a parting gesture William was appointed a Gentleman of the Bedchamber for life and Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. William wrote graciously to the King ensuring him of his future allegiance and putting himself at the disposal of the Crown if required should any future situation arise.