The Royal Oak is the English oak tree within which King Charles II of England hid to escape the Roundheads following the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The tree was located in Boscobel Wood, which was part of the park of Boscobel House. Charles confirmed to Samuel Pepys in 1680 that while he was hiding in the tree, a Parliamentarian soldier passed directly below it.
The story was popular after the Restoration, and is remembered every year in the English traditions of Royal Oak Day. Numerous large dishes painted in slip with the Boscobel Oak, supported by the Lion and Unicorn, with the king's face peeping from the branches were made by the Staffordshire potter Thomas Toft.
Current Situation :
The site of the tree is adjacent to Boscobel House, but is not owned by English Heritage, as the house is: the surrounding land is actually owned and farmed by Francis Yates Partners, who allow the public access along a path from the garden of the house. The tree standing on the site today is not the original Royal Oak, which is recorded to have been destroyed during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by tourists who cut off branches and chunks as souvenirs. The present day tree is believed to be a two or three hundred-year old descendant of the original and is thus known as 'Son of Royal Oak'.
In 2000, Son of Royal Oak was badly injured during a violent storm and lost many branches. In September 2010, it was found to have developed large and dangerous cracks. The 2011 season opened with the tree surrounded by a wooden outer perimeter fence to ensure the safety of visitors.