Nickname for the royalists who fought for Charles I during the civil wars. Like ‘roundhead’, ‘cavalier’ originated as a term of abuse. Stemming from the Spanish word caballero, it was meant to connote catholicism, foreignness, and immorality. Rather than reject the nickname, the royalists redefined it for their own purposes. They saw themselves as well‐born men who out of loyalty and conscience had chosen to defend their king.
Subjects: British History.