Monday 15 July, 2024

Scottish history and heritage online

Charles Edward Stuart

Charles Edward Stuart (31 December 1720 – 30 January 1788) known to history as “the Young Pretender” and “Bonnie Prince Charlie” was the elder son of James Francis Edward Stuart, grandson of James II and VII, and the Stuart claimant to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1766 as Charles III.

Charles was born on 31 December 1720, in Palazzo Muti, Rome, Papal States. He was one of two sons of James Francis Edward Stuart and Maria Clementina Sobieska. His paternal grandfather was James II and VII, who was overthrown during the revolution of 1688.

Charles is best known for leading the unsuccessful Jacobite uprising of 1745. The Jacobite forces under Charles initially achieved several victories in the field, including the Battle of Prestonpans in September 1745 and the Battle of Falkirk Muir in January 1746. However, by April 1746, Charles was defeated at Culloden, which effectively ended the Stuart cause.

Following Charles’ failed attempt, the highland way of life was to change forever.

Charles secretly visited London in 1750 and it is believed he converted to the Protestant faith during his short time there.

It could be fair to say that Charles, like his father, saw Scotland merely as a stepping stone for the bigger prize, the Crown of England. Indeed, had it all gone according to plan, Charles would have invaded England at the head of a French army in 1744. After the invasion failed to materialise Charles tried his luck in Scotland.

Charles was a tough individual, mentally and physically, which is much different to the popular portrayal of him.

Charles Edward Stuart died in Rome of a stroke on 31st January 1788, aged 67.

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