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Novel written by Diana’s brother to get on-screen adaptation

Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl Spencer, continues to be busy in his career. It was announced this week that his seventh book, the 2017 To Catch a King: Charles II’s Great Escape, will be developed for the screen. 

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, the duo behind The Lost King and Philomena, have bought the rights to the book, but it is still unknown whether or not it will be developed for television or feature. On his Twitter, Spencer noted, “Really excited to see my book TO CATCH A KING being brought to life by such a talented duo!” 

To Catch a King is a re-telling of a future-King Charles II’s escape from Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian army and features extracts from Charles’ own writings. The true adventure story covers the six months after his father’s execution when the 21-year-old made his escape dressed as a servant and hiding in an oak tree. 

Spencer is best known as the younger brother of the late Princess of Wales. At her September 1997 funeral, he used his eulogy to criticise both the Royal Family and the press for their role in her life and death. 

He has long been criticised for denying Diana a place of refuge on the family estate, despite having disproved this countless times. In 2021, the BBC issued Spencer an apology, as he had been shown forged documents in Martin Bashir’s pursuit of an interview with his sister. 

Spencer’s published books cover a wide variety of topics. Both Althorp: the Story of an English House and The Spencer Family cover the Spencers and their ancestral home. He also wrote Blenheim: Battle for Europe, Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier, Killers of the King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I, and The White Ship: Conquest, Anarchy, and the Wrecking of Henry I’s Dream

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Historian and blogger at AnHistorianAboutTown.com