Today is Oak Apple Day, a day about the restoration of the British Monarchy to Britain and Ireland.
It is said that King Charles’ life was saved after the battle of Worcester in 1651, when he escaped from the Roundhead army by hiding in an oak tree in the grounds of Boscobel House in Staffordshire. Obviously those metal helmets worn by the Roundheads were too heavy and actually prevented them from looking up to find him or alternatively Charles was a royal ‘Hide and Seek’ champion who must also have had the climbing abilities of a squirrel.
Although the public holiday was abolished in 1859 (Boo Hoo – I could have done with another day off !), Oak Apple Day continues to be celebrated in parts of England today.
Northhampton still remembers Charles II and his escape after the battle of Worcester. The town is grateful to Charles II, for giving the citizens one thousand tons of timber from the Royal forests of Whittlewood, after a great fire almost razed the town in 1675. A garland of oak-apples is laid at Charles II’s statue each year.
London too celebrates 29 May at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, which Charles founded as a home for Army pensioners. The Chelsea Pensioners parade on this day for inspection by a member of the Royal Family in honour of King Charles II.
And so to the Oak Apple itself – not one to make Toffee Apples from for the school fete as Oak Apples are caused by chemicals injected by the larva of certain kinds of gall wasp – not very tasty at all – except if your a wasp larvae !
Now bearing that in mind, I don’t know who named it Oak Apple Day but they could hardly have been a Royalist – surely I am not the only one who realises the irony that the designation far from exalting the monarchy, means people for years have been honouring the fact that actually the naming represents their celebration of a ‘Maggot stuck up a Tree’ !