Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector, had died at Whitehall on 3 September 1658, after a resurgence of the malarial fever from which he had suffered intermittently since 1630s. According to the terms of the current constitutional arrangement, the Humble Petition and Advice, he could nominate his own successor, so his eldest surviving son, Richard, was quickly proclaimed Lord Protector. On 1 February 1659, a bill was brought before Parliament to confirm this de facto arrangement.
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