On his fathers death Richard became Lord Protector, but lacked authority. He attempted to mediate between the army and civil society, and allowed a Parliament which contained a number of disaffected Presbyterians. Suspicions that civilian councilors were intent on supplanting the army were brought to a head by an attempt to prosecute a major-general for actions against a Royalist. The army made a show of force against Richard, and may have had him in detention. Without a king-like figure, such as Cromwell, as head of state the government lacked coherence, monck then presided over the Restoration of 1660. Richard Cromwell subsisted in straitened circumstances after his resignation, he went abroad and he eventually returned to his English estate, dying in his eighties. None of his children had offspring of their own and he has no descendants, Cromwell was born in Huntingdon on 4 October 1626, the third son of Oliver Cromwell and his wife Elizabeth. Little is known of his childhood and he and his three brothers were educated at Felsted School in Essex close to their mothers family home. There is no record of his attending university, in May 1647, he became a member of Lincolns Inn. He may have served as a captain in Thomas Fairfaxs lifeguard during the late 1640s, in 1649 Cromwell married Dorothy Maijor, daughter of Richard Maijor, a member of the Hampshire gentry. He and his wife moved to Maijors estate at Hursley in Hampshire. During the 1650s they had nine children, five of whom survived to adulthood, Cromwell was named a Justice of the Peace for Hampshire and sat on various county committees. Better than idleness, or mere outward worldly contents and these fit for public services, for which a man is born. He fought in none of the English civil wars, Oliver Cromwell had risen from unknown member of Parliament in his forties to being commander of the New Model Army, which emerged victorious from the English Civil War. A Puritan regime strictly enforced the Sabbath, and banned almost all form of public celebration, in 1653, Cromwell was passed over as a member of Barebones Parliament, although his younger brother Henry was a member of it. Under the Protectorates constitution, Oliver Cromwell was required to nominate a successor and he was present at the second installation of his father as Lord Protector in June, having played no part in the first installation. In July he was appointed chancellor of Oxford University, and in December was made a member of the Council of State, Oliver Cromwell died on 3 September 1658, and Richard was informed on the same day that he was to succeed him. Richard was faced by two immediate problems, the first was the army, which questioned his position as commander given his lack of military experience
Proclamation announcing the death of Oliver Cromwell and the succession of Richard Cromwell as Lord Protector. Printed in Scotland 1658.
Coat of arms of the Protectorate, borne by Cromwell during his reign as Lord Protector.