Happy Royal Oak Day!

It may be Memorial Day back home, but in the UK it's Royal Oak Day!  It's a Bank Holiday commemorating Charles II's close shave with death during the Civil War.  He was about 20 years old, running for his life after Cromwell chopped his dad's head off.  His loyal followers were trying to get him safely to France but they had to hide him along the way.  The first night of his escape he spent 13 hours sitting up in the branches of an oak tree!  The enemy army searched the woods in the dark of night right under his feet and never found him.  Eventually (after weeks of hiding) he escaped to France disguised as a servant.  

But after a while England was sick of Cromwell's cronies' shenanigans and they invited Charles back to be king again.  He arrived on England's shores all in glory, and declared a national holiday called "Royal Oak Day", commemorating the night he spent up in the oak tree, the closest to death he ever got!  

The tree he stayed in is famous, so of course we had to go visit it!  There used to be woods around it but the trees were cleared for pasture - except for the famous oak.   (It was absolutely huge but it was damaged by a storm last year and 70% of it was ripped off!)  There is also a pub down the street from our flat called The Royal Oak.  For the longest time we had no idea what the pub was on about but now we know! 

1 comment:

TheBenandKaties said...

I absolutely love the fact that the tree has a fence around it but the ruins of the old monasteries are free to be climbed on.