Royal escape: historian and uncle to Princes William and Harry, Charles Spencer Premium

11 October 2017 | by Joanna Moorhead

The Tablet Interview


Charles Spencer is quoting the most poignant sentence in his new book, and he clearly finds the words deeply moving. They were spoken more than 300 years ago by a king of England to the Catholic priest to whom he owed his life, and believed he would owe his eternity. It was 5 February 1685; Charles II was on his deathbed; and the man he was addressing, Fr John Huddleston, had been pivotal in hiding the monarch from Oliver Cromwell during a nail-biting chase three decades earlier.

Now the king was dying, and Fr Huddleston had arrived to receive him into the Church and hear his last confession.

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