Who was Bonnie Prince Charlie?
Charles Edward Stuart, was a royal pretender
to the throne of England and Scotland.
Date and Place of Birth:
31st December 1720, Palazzo Muti, Rome, Italy.
Chales was the son of deposed and uncrowned King
James the Third of England known as "The Old Pretender"
and grandson of King James the Second. Christened Charles Edward
Louis Philip Casimir Stuart.
Catholic Governess Mrs Sheldon favoured by his
mother was removed in favour of a protestant tutor James Murray
chosen by his father.
Chronology/Biography of Bonnie
1744: With the help
of the French King Charles' father began an attempt to regain the
British Royal throne for the Catholic Stuart cause from the ruling
Hanoverians. Young Charles was put in charge of the French invasion
forces, although bad weather and a build up of British naval forces
put the expedition on hold.
(5th July) Bonnie Prince Charlie left
France with two ships. One is badly damaged by a British warship
and he is advised to turn back but he continues on. Lands on the
west coast of Scotland on the Hebridean Island of Eriskay where
he is met by Macdonald of Boisdale who tells him to go home, "I
am come home, Sir" he replies. (19 August) he raised his standard
at Glenfinnan but unfortunately not many clansmen had turned up.
Then 700 Cameron men arrived and finally he began to organise a
small force of about 1,500 Highlanders who had rallied to his Jacobite
cause. The Government puts a £30,000 bounty on his head for
his successful capture which was a large fortune in those days and
represents the threat they thought he posed. (September) Successfully
occupied Edinburgh and destroyed the Hanoverian Government army
led by John Cope at the Battle of Prestonpans (21st September),
just outside Edinburgh. (1st November) He then crossed over the
border into England with a force of about 6,500 men determined to
go to London despite his general's desire to wait for reinforcements.
(15 November) Carlisle surrenders to his army where the terrified
townspeople believe that the Highlanders eat children.They eventually
marched south as far as Derby. By now there was panic in London
with the King seriously thinking of packing up and returning to
Hanover. The march began to slow as English Jacobites did not flock
to the cause as was expected. The backing from France of men and
money also did not materialise. Faced by a Government army of nearly
30,000 men he decided to retreat back to Scotland.
(17th January) Won a victory against the Government forces at the
Battle of Falkirk. (16th April) The two armies finally met after
much maneuvering on the battlefield at Culloden where he was defeated
by the Duke of Cumberland. The fight lasted just over an hour and
the government army contained many Scottish troops as well as English.
The Duke received his nickname of "The Butcher" not for
the battle itself but for the ferocity with which his troops hunted
down people they thought were active in the uprising. This massacre
lasted for several weeks and killed several thousand people, including
many innocent people. Even though many more Scots had fought on
the Government side Highland culture, language and dress was suppressed
for many years to come as retaliation. (June) He was taken to Portree
on the Isle of Skye where he was disguised as a maid called Betty
Burke, by Flora MacDonald. He escaped by sea back to France (9th
September) Landed in Brittany and was entertained by the French
court until he was asked to leave after the Peace of Aix-le-Chapelle.
Monument To Bonnie Prince Charlie's landing in Scotland
(© Anthony Blagg)
Bonnie Prince Charlie actually visited
London in disguise and tried thereafter to interest several European
governments to support him. 1760: Declared himself a protestant
in the hope that it would help his cause. 1753: Birth of a daughter
Charlotte to his mistress Clementina Walkinshaw whom he created
Duchess of Albany.
By now his claims were not even being recognised by the Pope and
other European Powers and he became something of a joke in international
circles, finally descending into alcoholism. He retired to Florence.
Good Friday 17th April 1772 to Louise, daughter
of Gustave Adolphe, Prince of Stolberg-Gedern at the Marefoschi
Palace in Macerata, Italy. (Later dissolved).
Date and Place of Death:
31st January 1788, Palazzo Muti, Rome, Italy.
Age at Death:
Site of Grave:
Tomb in the Cathedral of Frascati as the Pope
forbad his burial in Rome (although he was later moved to St. Peter's
Cathedral in Rome).
Places of Interest:
Holyrood House holds his pistol.
Glenfinnan Memorial and Museum, Glenfinnan
Clan Macdonald Centre, Armadale, Isle of Skye
West Highland Museum, Fort William holds relics.
Kings Own Regimental Museum, Lancaster.
ISLE OF WIGHT:
Imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle.