Richard Cromwell, 1626–1712, lord protector of England; third son of Oliver Cromwell. He was the eldest surviving son at the death of his father (Sept. 3, 1658), who had nominated him as his successor. Although he had served in Parliament and on the council of state, Richard lacked the energy and experience to manage complicated affairs of state. Army and Parliament struggled for power, and the army forced Richard to dismiss Parliament on Apr. 22, 1659. His Protectorate had actually collapsed, but it continued in name until May 25, when the Rump Parliament, which had reassembled itself, reestablished the Commonwealth. He lived abroad (1660–80) and later in England under an assumed name.
See biography by R. W. Ramsay (1935); study by E. M. Hause (1972).