Ralph Lauren take guests back in time

Joan Collins

Let’s face it; as the nights get darker, and the headlines from the political party conferences get a little bit bleaker, we could all do with a bit of escapism. Ralph Lauren, at least, seem to understand this sentiment, last week hosting in their Bond Street store the book launch for the latest tome by Charles Spencer, historian, broadcaster, journalist and brother of Diana, Princess of Wales. The book transports readers back to 1649, when politics comprised more drama than drawn-out speeches from conference centres in Manchester. The true story of one of the greatest escapes in British history, it follows Charles II as he fled for his life after the Battle of Worcester, with a vast sum on his head. Concealing himself from the forces who wanted to crush the monarchy led him into some strange situations—famously, the time he hid in an oak tree, prompting 400 English pubs to name themselves The Royal Oak in commemoration of the fabled incident. Lesser-known events include Charles witnessing a village in wild celebrations at the mistaken news of his killing, and disguising himself as a milkmaid and as one half of an eloping couple to escape capture. After he was restored to the throne, Charles recounted his escape to Samuel Pepys, who transcribed it for posterity in coded shorthand. Little did Charles know that, centuries later, it would be updated into a print book, nor that Joan Collins would be among the guests raising a glass of champagne to its publication.

To Catch a King: Charles II’s Great Escape (William Collins) by Charles Spencer; @ralphlauren

         

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