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12 Facts About Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Man Who Could Have Been King Charles III

King Charles III ascended the British throne on September 8, 2022—however he wasn’t the primary to say the title of Charles III

Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart was born simply over 300 years in the past, the eldest son of the eldest son of a monarch. In keeping with paternalistic hereditary succession, he was instantly in line to the throne. However he by no means gained his birthright. Listed below are 12 info in regards to the man who got here to be often known as Bonnie Prince Charlie.

James II of England VII of Scotland

James II and VII. / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

King James II of England and VII of Scotland was the son of Charles I. He dominated from 1685–1688, and was an unpopular monarch attributable to his spiritual beliefs. Although he was born into the reigning Protestant Stuart dynasty, in 1669 he had converted to Roman Catholicism. To know why this was of utmost concern to the residents of the day, we now have to return to the reign of Elizabeth I.

In 1559, having inherited a rustic embroiled in spiritual intolerance and hatred, Elizabeth I had brokered a lasting peace that unified Protestants and Catholics. The 1559 Act of Supremacy said that the queen, quite than the Roman Catholic Pope, could be the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, whereas the Act of Uniformity enabled each the Catholic and Protestant interpretations of communion.  All subsequent monarchs have been Protestant—till the succession of James II stoked fears that the nation was as soon as once more going to tip into turmoil.

At first his presence as monarch was tolerated, helped probably by the Protestantism of his two kids, Mary and Anne. Mary, the following in line to the throne, was married to the Protestant William of Orange, himself a grandson of Charles I, so a Protestant succession appeared assured. Nevertheless, in 1688, James’s second spouse, Mary of Modena, gave start to a son, James Frances Edward Stuart, who was promptly baptized a Catholic. This dealt the demise knell to James II’s sovereignty; with the assured Protestant line of succession in tatters, a gaggle of English noblemen wrote to William of Orange, inviting him to take the Crown. In 1688, William and Mary deposed James II in what turned often known as the Glorious Revolution. James II fled to France and the safety of his cousin, King Louis XIV

Charles Edward Stuart

“The Younger Pretender.” / Print Collector/GettyImages

The younger James Frances Edward Stuart lived in exile in France underneath the safety of Louis XIV till James II’s demise in 1701, whereupon the French King declared him to be James III of England and James VIII of Scotland, titles that have been additionally acknowledged by Spain and the Pope. Seven years later, as a response to the Act of Union and with Louis’s backing, 19-year-old James led an try to invade Scotland however was thwarted by inclement climate and the British Navy.

As time handed, the British monarchy moved peacefully on. After the deaths of childless William III and Mary II, the Crown had handed to Anne, Mary’s sister and the final Stuart monarch, in 1702. The 1707 Succession to the Crown Act had legislated that the throne should be handed to the following Protestant within the line of succession. As Anne had no surviving kids, on her demise in 1714 it went to a distant cousin, George, Elector of Hanover, who turned George I.  

Nevertheless, the would-be James III’s supporters in Britain, often known as Jacobites (from Jacobus, the Latin for James and first derived for supporters of James II) continued to plot his restoration. The passage of the throne to George I quite than to James himself prompted the first Jacobite uprising in 1715, by which James was once more defeated and compelled to return to France. A second uprising in 1719 was additionally unsuccessful. 

By this time, James’s hankering after the Stuart succession was thought-about an embarrassment in some quarters. He turned often known as “The Old Pretender” attributable to his continued pretense for the Crown, a declare additional maligned by the tales that had abounded since his start. His mom, Mary of Modena, suffered the lack of 10 kids by way of miscarriages, stillbirths, and deaths in early infancy. When James was born 4 years after her final unsuccessful being pregnant, it was maybe simple to unfold a conspiracy theory that the kid was really an impostor, smuggled into the bedchamber in a warming pan. To some James was thought-about a “pretender” from start, and his son inherited this condescending title, changing into often known as “The Young Pretender.”

'The Young Chavalier', Prince Charles Edward Stuart, c1730s.Artist: A J Skrimshire

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, circa the 1730s. / Print Collector/GettyImages

After the failure of the uprisings, James Frances Edward Stuart spent a lot of his remaining life within the neighborhood of Rome. He married Polish Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska, with whom he had two kids. Charles Edward Stuart, later to change into often known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or “The Younger Pretender,” was born in 1720 within the Palazzo del Re (or Palazzo Muti)—the place the exiled Jacobites held courtroom—in Rome. Just a little over 4 years later, Henry Benedict Stuart, later to change into Cardinal Duke of York, was born. 

Toddler Charles was in the care of a nurse, governess, and chambermaid along with his mom. When Henry was born, the boys’ father had Charles separated from his mom and moved to the tutelage of males, one being a governor whom Maria hated. She reacted by becoming a member of a convent; she returned after two years, however Charles’s mother and father’ relationship by no means recovered, persevering with as an alternative in a state of unhappiness till her premature demise when the prince was solely 14.

Prince Charles Edward

Bonnie Prince Charlie marching into Edinburgh. / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

Regardless of any antagonism Charles might have felt towards James for the breakdown in his mother and father’ marriage, when his father invested him as Prince Regent in 1743, he took it upon himself to revive the succession in his title.

His first attempt at invading was in 1744, with a well-armed French fleet that succumbed to unhealthy climate earlier than they may make landfall. Undeterred however now with out French help, Charles took benefit of the British Military being engaged in war abroad and made a second try, embarking on a French frigate. He landed on July 23, 1745, with a small group of males on the Island of Eriskay within the Outer Hebrides. His goal was to rally a Highland military and collect sufficient followers as he marched south to entice the English Jacobites and the French navy to help the trigger. 

The third and final Jacobite rebellion started on August 19, 1745, when Charles and his military of Highlanders raised the usual at Glenfinnan. On September 17, they entered Edinburgh, organising courtroom at Holyrood Palace and proclaiming James to be King.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie

Supporters toasting the prince. / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

The Jacobite Military is commonly assumed to have comprised primarily Highlanders, not least due to its different title of the Highland Military. The third rebellion certainly commenced within the Highlands. However many locals that joined the trigger would have performed so on the behest of their clan chief, quite than attributable to their very own calling, given the social structure within the Highlands on the time. 

Many different Scots joined from the lowlands and the East, doubtless underneath the affect of pro-Jacobite landowners. As soon as the military reached Edinburgh, extra lowland Scots additionally joined the ranks, as did some English, just like the Manchester regiment, after they’d crossed the border. 

Loyalists to the Jacobite trigger have been additionally discovered amongst the Welsh, Irish, and French. Irish and French units have been a part of the Jacobite Military at Culloden. There was a history of Jacobitism in Ireland as a result of English subjugation of the Irish; they hoped that restoring the throne to the Stuarts would rid them of their oppressors. The French have been already engaged in war with the British, and by supporting the travails of the Jacobites they hoped to destabilize Britain for their very own good points.

However not each Scot was loyal to the Jacobite trigger. Glasgow was predominantly Hanoverian, and Edinburgh retained a authorities stronghold in its citadel all through the 1745 rising. Moreover, some Highland chiefs withheld their help, cautious that with out ample French backing, there was inadequate energy for victory to be assured.

Charles Edward Stuart

Bonnie Prince Charlie, circa 1750. / Print Collector/GettyImages

It’s unsurprising that the Jacobites discovered help among the many Catholic neighborhood. Along with sharing the exiled home of Stuart’s religion, British Catholics had many grievances because the time of William III and Mary II, once they had been topic to numerous punitive acts of government

Nevertheless, not all Jacobites have been Catholic. Proof means that many Highlanders have been actually Protestant. Moreover, many Jacobites believed that monarchs dominated underneath direct authority from God, in any other case often known as the divine right of kings. The Stuart dynasty had dominated in Scotland since 1371, becoming a member of with the English Crown when James VI of Scotland inherited it in 1603, changing into James I of England. Many Scots, Catholic and Protestant alike, noticed the Stuart male line because the rightful heirs to the throne. Some Jacobites, no matter faith, wished to regain the autonomy that Scotland had misplaced within the 1707 Act of Union

Regardless of the chance of receiving extra spiritual freedom underneath a Catholic monarch, outstanding British Catholics such because the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk remained staunch supporters of the Hanoverian king, though this was doubtless attributable to Norfolk’s earlier pardoning as a Jacobite supporter. Others seemed content to observe their faith discreetly with out difficult the Protestant monarch. 

Battle of Culloden, April 1746.

The Battle of Culloden, April 1746. / Print Collector/GettyImages

Charles’s plan of invading whereas the British Military was concerned within the War of the Austrian Succession in mainland Europe appeared to be paying off. After taking Edinburgh, he was victorious towards the British on the Battle of Prestonpans on September 21, 1745. The Jacobites then marched south, crossing the border into England. They captured Carlisle after a short siege and adopted a route that took them by way of areas that had supported the 1715 rebellion. Nevertheless, fewer English than anticipated joined the Jacobite trigger, and the anticipated invasion by the French failed to materialize

On December 4, the Jacobite Military reached Derby, some 480 miles from Charles’s first touchdown on British soil at Eriskay and a mere 120 miles from London. By this time, the Duke of Cumberland had been recalled from commanding the British Military’s incursions in mainland Europe and was identified to be advancing from London. To his dismay, Charles was outnumbered at a meeting of his council of war, who felt rising unease at being remoted from Scotland whereas gaining much less help than anticipated; they suggested turning again to await French help. Regardless of making exceptional good points and getting so near his aim, the prince reluctantly returned to Scotland, the place reinforcements as soon as once more swelled their ranks. They discovered victory on the Battle of Falkirk Muir and took Inverness

As winter turned to spring, the Jacobite Military was in want of cash and meals; Cumberland’s males, in the meantime, had obtained coaching within the Jacobites’ fighting techniques. The Royal Navy had intercepted a French ship carrying funds for the Jacobites, and Charles determined he may wait not. On April 16, 1746, the 2 sides met on the notorious and brutal Battle of Culloden—the last pitched battle (a deliberate struggle at a pre-determined location) on British soil—with the Jacobite troops vastly outnumbered by the Hanoverians. It took about an hour to sprint Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hopes of regaining the Crown. He fled, a fugitive with a worth of £30,000 on his head.  

Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora Macdonald

Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora Macdonald. / Print Collector/GettyImages

Within the months after his defeat at Culloden, the Hanoverian forces relentlessly pursued Charles throughout the Highlands and islands; he narrowly prevented seize on a number of events. Many courageous Scots risked their lives to present him provisions and shelter, smuggling him to security. He arrived within the Western Isles on April 27, hotly pursued from place to place till June 28, when he escaped from South Uist with the assistance of an area heroine, Flora MacDonald

MacDonald steered Charles gown as her Irish maid, Betty Burke, and so they set sail with a gaggle of 5 boatmen to the Isle of Skye, throughout the treacherous waters of the Minch, underneath cowl of dusk. Charles and his supporters made their way throughout Skye, parting firm with MacDonald and finally crossing to the mainland. They made their technique to Loch nan Uamh, from the place they boarded a French frigate on September 20, 1746. 

Many contemplate Charles’s complete life story to be one among a tragic hero, maybe no extra so than through the months he spent evading seize after Culloden. The tune that immortalizes his struggles is the “Skye Boat Song.” Its lyrics have been really written over 100 years after the occasion by an Englishman, Sir Harold Boulton. It has the type of a standard Gaelic rowing tune set to the tune of an older tune that interprets as “The Cuckoo within the Grove” (the general tune will probably be acquainted to Outlander followers). The primary verse is especially rousing and evocative of the Jacobites’ wistful lament:

“Pace, bonnie boat, like a hen on the wing
Onward, the sailors cry!
Carry the lad that’s born to be
King Over the ocean to Skye.”

Prince Charles Edward Stuart - portrait

A portrait of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. / Tradition Membership/GettyImages

Traditionally, it wasn’t unusual for royal portrait artists to color their topics in a extra favorable gentle than that nature initially bestowed. A portrait was alleged to convey concepts about its topic as a lot as any truthful illustration. Within the words of Murray Pittock, a historian and professor on the College of Glasgow, “Charles was portrayed as a younger, honest and female determine as a result of Jacobite ideology wished to indicate him because the renewer of Scotland: a picture of youth, fertility, fecundity.” It’s maybe due to this fact unsurprising that Charles is so often pictured as a dashing younger man. However what of the reality? 

He was given his well-liked “Bonnie” (that means stunning) moniker throughout his time in Edinburgh within the third Jacobite rebellion, having many admirers among the many native ladies. Reports from his adolescence counsel he was each bodily engaging and had a fascinating character. Contemporary accounts from the time of the 1745 rebellion confirmed his affability and good-looking nature. 

A digital facial reconstruction made out of his demise masks by forensic artist Hew Morrison exhibits Bonnie Prince Charlie as an outdated man, however his options are symmetric and evenly positioned alongside typical requirements of attractiveness; it’s not laborious to think about that as a younger man he was certainly bonnie.

Relics of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Relics of Bonnie Prince Charlie. / Print Collector/GettyImages

Accounts of Charles’s conduct later in life are removed from bonnie. After escaping from Scotland in 1746, Charles initially returned to France considering he would increase a military and return to his campaign however help was not forthcoming. In 1748, the French and British brokered the Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle, ending the Struggle of the Austrian Succession. Charles’s elimination from French territory was a part of the treaty’s phrases. He relocated to Papal lands, and after his father’s demise in 1766, was granted permission from the Pope to inhabit the Palazzo Muti. When the exiled James died, Pope Clement XIII did not bestow upon him the title of Charles III. It was one other bitter blow.

Charles was already a seasoned drinker as a younger man and had turned to alcohol extra as his disillusionment grew. In 1753, Charles had had a daughter, Charlotte, along with his lover Clementina Walkinshaw; each mother and daughter left him attributable to his alcoholism and abusive conduct. In 1772, along with his supporters involved about his lack of respectable situation, Charles married Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern. The couple didn’t have any kids. Charles turned more and more sad and lonely, a continued purveyor of home abuse and a sufferer of his personal hard-drinking that resulted within the breakdown of his marriage.  

He died after years of ill-health from a stroke on January 31, 1788, aged 67, in the identical Palazzo by which he was born. 

Highland Soldier Monument, Glenfinnan, Scotland

The Highland Soldier Monument, Glenfinnan, Scotland. / Tim Graham/GettyImages

The third rebellion was the ultimate straw for the British authorities. Decided to quash any additional insurrection, they set about brutally extinguishing the Highlanders’ lifestyle, destroying property and executing or transporting Jacobite sympathizers—including children, who have been despatched to the colonies to be offered into indentured servitude, even though many Highlanders had not participated within the rebellion. 

Carrying conventional Highland tartans, educating Gaelic, bearing arms, and taking part in bagpipes was banned. The clan chiefs have been robbed of their energy; no extra would they command males in service to them. The federal government acted to facilitate the acquisition of land such that landlords started repurposing it for agriculture, primarily worthwhile sheep and cattle farming. Within the course of, they forcibly evicted local families to coastal areas, the place they struggled to outlive on land unsuitable for farming. Some have been eliminated to different areas to farm crops as crofters—however with none authorized declare to the land they labored. Many Highlanders subsequently emigrated, their lifestyle gone for good.


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