National event 29th May
Date: 29 May 19 — 29 May 19 | Report this event.
Entrance Price free Per person
Falling on 29 May and known as ‘Oak Apple Day’, this is a former public holiday which, although less celebrated today as a calendar custom, symbolized an event of crucial importance in English history, the traditions of which, in parts of England are still very much kept alive. To understand it we have to look back to the year 1660 to see quite how it came to bear this name and why the symbol of the oak was such a particular one. However, the year 1630 is also important to help us understand the true meaning of Oak Apple Day, because it was on 29 May of this year, that the future Charles II was born at St. James’s Palace and it would be the King’s birthday that was aptly chosen as the day that became known in English history as ‘Restoration Day’, when a thirty year-old Charles II rode in triumph into London amidst widespread rejoicing and celebration. The great diarist Samuel Pepys recorded in his journal dated 1 June 1660, “that Parliament had ordered the 29th of May, the King’s birthday, to be forever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King’s return to his Government, he returning to London that day”. Charles had set out from Scheveningen and reached Dover a mere four days previously. Although Restoration Day was celebrated on 29 May 1660, the King’s coronation did not take place at Westminster Abbey until 23 April 1661 and Samuel Pepys recorded his eyewitness account of the event in his diary. The cavalcade of Charles II through the city of London on the day before his coronation was immortalised in the painting by Dirk Stoop, today to be seen in the Museum of London. Stoop had painted the young Catherine of Braganza, travelling together with her entourage to England when she came as the future bride of Charles II in 1662.