Charles Spencer

Charles Spencer

To Catch A King

How did the most wanted man in the country outwit the greatest manhunt in British history?

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm

In the week when the paperback of To Catch A King is published, Charles Spencer presents this thrilling yet entirely factual account, described by the Times as “a ripping yarn, with ingredients that belong partly to thrillers and partly to fairytales.”

This is the story of the relentless pursuit of the man who would be King. In 1651 Charles hid from Cromwell’s men using disguise, deception and relying on grit, fortitude and good luck. He suffered grievously through weeks when his cause seemed hopeless. He hid in an oak tree an event so fabled that over 400 English pubs are named Royal Oak in commemoration. Less well-known events include his witnessing a village in wild celebrations at the erroneous news of his killing; the ordeal of a medical student wrongly imprisoned because of his similarity in looks; his disguising himself as a servant and as one half of an eloping couple. Once restored to the throne as Charles II, he told the tale of his escapades to Samuel Pepys, who transcribed it all.

The Independent has described To Catch a King as “brilliant” and a “beautifully written, moving book”. Join Charles Spencer as he recounts this singular time in British history, derived from first hand accounts.

Charles Spencer obtained his degree in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford.  He was a reporter on NBC’s Today Show from 1986 until 1995, and is the author of six books, including Sunday Times bestseller Blenheim: Battle for Europe (shortlisted for History Book of the Year at the 2005 National Book Awards), Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier, Sunday Times bestseller Killers of the King and Times bestseller To Catch a King.


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