Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Sylvester Severino Maria Stuart (31
December 1720 – 31 January 1788) was the elder son of James
Francis Edward Stuart, grandson of
James II and VII
James II and VII and after 1766 the
Stuart claimant to the throne of Great Britain. During his lifetime,
he was also known as "The Young Pretender" or "The Young Chevalier"
and in popular memory as "Bonnie Prince Charlie". He is best
remembered for his role in the 1745 rising; defeat at Culloden in
April 1746 effectively ended the Stuart cause and subsequent attempts
such as a planned French invasion in 1759 failed to materialise.
His escape from Scotland after the uprising led him to be portrayed as
a romantic figure of heroic failure in later representations.
1 Early life
2 The "Forty-Five"
3 Later life
4 Death and burial
7 See also
9 External links
"Prince Charles Edward Stuart, 1720 - 1788. Eldest son of Prince James
Francis Edward Stuart" Painted by William Mosman around 1750
Charles was born in the Palazzo Muti, Rome, Italy, on 31 December
1720, where his father had been given a residence by Pope Clement
XI. He spent almost all his childhood in
Rome and Bologna. He was the
son of the Old Pretender, James, son of the exiled Stuart King James
VII and II, and Maria Clementina Sobieska, the granddaughter of John
III Sobieski, most famous for the victory over the
Ottoman Turks in
the 1683 Battle of Vienna.
He had a privileged childhood in Rome, where he was brought up
Catholic in a loving but argumentative family. As the legitimate heirs
to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland—according to the
Jacobite succession—his family lived with a sense of pride, and
staunchly believed in the divine right of kings. Regaining the thrones
of England, Ireland and Scotland for the Stuarts was a constant topic
of conversation in the household, principally reflected in his
father's often morose and combative moods.
His grandfather, James II of England, Ireland and VII of Scotland,
ruled the countries from 1685 to 1688. He was deposed when
Parliament invited the Dutch
Protestant William III and his wife
Princess Mary, King James' eldest daughter, to replace him in the
Revolution of 1688. Many Protestants, including a number of prominent
parliamentarians, had been worried that King James aimed to return
England to the
Catholic fold. Since the exile of James, the "Jacobite
Cause" had striven to return the Stuarts to the thrones of England and
Scotland, which were united in 1603 under James VI and I, with the
parliaments joined by the Acts of Union in 1707 as the United Kingdom
of Great Britain. Charles Edward played a major part in the pursuit of
In 1734, Charles Edward observed the French and Spanish siege of
Gaeta, his first exposure to war. His father managed to obtain the
renewed support of the French government in 1744, whereupon Charles
Edward travelled to France with the sole purpose of commanding a
French army that he would lead in an invasion of England. The invasion
never materialised, as the invasion fleet was scattered by a storm. By
the time the fleet regrouped, the British fleet realised the diversion
that had deceived them and resumed their position in the Channel.
Undeterred, Charles Edward was determined to continue his quest for
the restoration of the Stuarts.
Main article: Jacobite rising of 1745
Representation of the Jacobite 1745 flag.
Charles Edward as the Jacobite leader
Prince Charles in the battlefield
In December 1743, Charles's father named him Prince Regent, giving him
authority to act in his name. Eighteen months later, he led a
French-backed rebellion intended to place his father on the thrones of
England and Scotland. Charles raised funds to fit out two ships: the
Elisabeth, an old man-of-war of 66 guns, and the Du Teillay (sometimes
called Doutelle), a 16-gun privateer, which successfully landed him
and seven companions at
Eriskay on 23 July 1745. Charles had hoped for
support from a French fleet, but it was badly damaged by storms, and
he was left to raise an army in Scotland.
The Jacobite cause was still supported by many Highland clans, both
Catholic and Protestant. Charles hoped for a warm welcome from these
clans to start an insurgency by Jacobites throughout Britain. He
raised his father's standard at
Glenfinnan and gathered a force large
enough to enable him to march on Edinburgh. The city, under the
control of the Lord Provost Archibald Stewart, quickly surrendered.
While he was in
Edinburgh a portrait of Charles was painted by the
artist Allan Ramsay, which survives in the collection of the Earl
of Wemyss at Gosford House.
On 21 September 1745, he defeated the only government army in Scotland
at the Battle of Prestonpans. The government army was led by General
Sir John Cope, and their disastrous defence against the Jacobites is
immortalised in the song "Johnnie Cope." By November, Charles was
marching south at the head of approximately 6,000 men. Having taken
Carlisle, his army progressed as far as
Swarkestone Bridge in
Derbyshire. Here, despite Charles' objections, his council decided to
return to Scotland, given the lack of English and French support and
rumours that large government forces were being amassed. The Jacobites
marched north once more, winning the Battle of Falkirk Muir, but were
later pursued by King George II's son, the Duke of Cumberland, who
caught up with them at the
Battle of Culloden
Battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746.
Battle of Culloden
Battle of Culloden between the Jacobites and the "Redcoats"
Ignoring the advice of one of his generals, Lord George Murray,
Charles chose to fight on flat, open, marshy ground where his forces
would be exposed to superior government firepower. Charles commanded
his army from a position behind his lines, where he could not see what
was happening. Hoping Cumberland's army would attack first, he had his
men stand exposed to the British Royal artillery. Seeing the error in
this, he quickly ordered an attack, but his messenger was killed
before the order could be delivered. The Jacobite attack, charging
into the teeth of musket fire and grapeshot fired from the cannons,
was uncoordinated and met with little success.
The Jacobites broke through the bayonets of the redcoats in one place,
but they were shot down by a second line of soldiers, and the
survivors fled. Cumberland's troops committed numerous atrocities as
they hunted for the defeated Jacobite soldiers, earning him the title
"the Butcher" from the Highlanders. Murray managed to lead a group of
Jacobites to Ruthven, intending to continue the fight. Believing
himself betrayed, however, Charles had decided to abandon the Jacobite
cause. During the campaign, James, the Chevalier de Johnstone, acted
as Aide de Camp for Murray and, briefly, for Charles himself. James
provided a first-hand account of these events in his "Memoir of the
Charles's subsequent flight has become the stuff of legend and is
commemorated in the popular folk song "The Skye Boat Song" (lyrics
1884, tune traditional) and the old Irish song "Mo Ghile Mear" by
Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill. Hiding in the moors of Scotland, he was
always barely ahead of the government forces. Though many Highlanders
saw Charles, and indeed aided him, none of them betrayed him for the
£30,000 reward offered. Charles was assisted by supporters such as
the pilot Donald Macleod of Galtrigill, Captain Felix O'Neill of the
O'Neills of the Fews dynasty, and Flora MacDonald, who helped him
escape to the
Isle of Skye
Isle of Skye by taking him, disguised as her Irish maid,
"Betty Burke", in a small boat. In this way he evaded capture
and left the country aboard the French frigate L'Heureux, arriving
back in France in September. The
Prince's Cairn marks the traditional
spot on the shores of Loch nan Uamh in
Lochaber from which he made his
final departure from Scotland. With the Jacobite cause lost, Charles
spent the remainder of his life — except for one brief, secret visit
to London — on the continent.
Charles Edward Stuart
Charles Edward Stuart in middle age
While back in France, Charles had numerous affairs; the one with his
first cousin Marie Louise de La Tour d'Auvergne, wife of Jules, Prince
of Guéméné, resulted in a short-lived son Charles (1748–1749). In
1748 Charles was expelled from France under the terms of the Treaty of
Aix-la-Chapelle which brought the war between Britain and France to an
Charles lived for several years in exile with his Scottish mistress,
Clementina Walkinshaw, whom he met, and may have begun a relationship
with, during the 1745 rebellion. In 1753, the couple had a daughter,
Charlotte. Charles's inability to cope with the collapse of the cause
led to his problem with drink, and mother and daughter left Charles
with his father James's connivance. Charlotte went on to have three
illegitimate children with Ferdinand, an ecclesiastical member of the
Rohan family. Their only son was Charles Edward Stuart, Count
Roehenstart. Clementina was suspected by many of Charles's supporters
of being a spy planted by the Hanoverian government of Great
After his defeat, Charles indicated to the remaining supporters of the
Jacobite cause in England that, accepting the impossibility of his
recovering the English and Scots crowns while he remained a Roman
Catholic, he was willing to commit himself to reigning as a
Protestant. Accordingly, he visited London incognito
in 1750 and conformed to the
Protestant faith by receiving Anglican
communion, likely at one of the remaining non-juring chapels. Bishop
Robert Gordon, a staunch Jacobite whose house in Theobald's Row was
one of Charles's safe-houses for the visit, is the most likely to have
celebrated the communion, and a chapel in Gray's Inn was suggested as
the venue as early as 1788 [Gentleman's Magazine, 1788]. This rebutted
David Hume's suggestion that it was a church in the Strand.
Unusually, the news of this conversion was not advertised widely, and
Charles had seemingly returned to the Roman
Catholic faith by the time
of his marriage.
In 1759, at the height of the Seven Years' War, Charles was summoned
to a meeting in Paris with the French foreign minister, the Duc De
Choiseul. Charles failed to make a good impression, being
argumentative and idealistic in his expectations. Choiseul was
planning a full-scale invasion of England, involving upwards of
100,000 men—to which he hoped to add a number of Jacobites led
by Charles. However, he was so little impressed with Charles, he
dismissed the prospect of Jacobite assistance. The French
invasion, which was Charles's last realistic chance to recover the
British throne for the Stuart dynasty, was ultimately thwarted by
naval defeats at Quiberon Bay and Lagos.
In 1766, Charles's father died.
Pope Clement XIII
Pope Clement XIII had recognised James
as King of England, Scotland, and Ireland as "James III and VIII" but
did not give Charles the same recognition.
Charles Edward Stuart
Charles Edward Stuart as an old man
In 1772 Charles married Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern. They lived
Rome and in 1774 moved to Florence, where in 1777 he
purchased for his residence the Palazzo di San Clemente, now known
also in his memory as the Palazzo del Pretendente. In
began to use the title "Count of Albany" as an alias. This title is
frequently used for him in European publications; his wife Louise is
almost always called "Countess of Albany".
In 1780, Louise left Charles. She claimed that Charles had physically
abused her; this claim was generally believed by contemporaries even
though Louise was already involved in an adulterous relationship with
the Italian poet, Count Vittorio Alfieri.
In 1783, Charles signed an act of legitimation for his illegitimate
daughter Charlotte, born in 1753 to
Clementina Walkinshaw (later known
as Countess von Alberstrof). Charles also gave Charlotte the title
"Duchess of Albany" in the peerage of Scotland and the style "Her
Royal Highness", but these honours did not give Charlotte any right of
succession to the throne. Charlotte lived with her father in Florence
Rome for the next five years.
The claims by two 19th-century charlatans, Charles and John Allen
alias John Sobieski Stuart and Charles Edward Stuart, that their
father, Thomas Allen, was a legitimate son of Charles and Louise are
without foundation.
Death and burial
Coat of arms
Coat of arms of The Young
Pretender (Royal Arms of England) in the
Palazzo di San Clemente
Palazzo di San Clemente in Florence
Charles died in
Rome on 31 January 1788, aged 67, of a stroke. He
was first buried in the Frascati Cathedral, where his brother Henry
Benedict Stuart was bishop. At Henry's death in 1807, Charles's
remains (except his heart) were moved to the crypt of St. Peter's
Basilica in the Vatican where they were laid to rest next to those of
his brother and his father. His mother is also buried in St. Peter's
Basilica. His heart remained in Frascati Cathedral, where it is
contained in a small urn beneath the floor under a monument.
During his pretence as Prince of Wales, Charles claimed a coat of arms
consisting of those of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of
Ancestors of Charles Edward Stuart
16. James VI of Scotland
8. Charles I of England
17. Princess Anne of Denmark
4. James II of England
18. Henry IV of France
9. Princess Henrietta Maria of France
19. Marie de' Medici
2. James Francis Edward Stuart
20. Francesco I d'Este, Duke of Modena
10. Alfonso IV d'Este, Duke of Modena
21. Maria Caterina Farnese
5. Mary of Modena
22. Hieronymus Martinozzi
11. Laura Martinozzi
23. Laura Margherita Mazzarini
1. Charles Edward Stuart
24. Jakub Sobieski
12. John III Sobieski
25. Zofia Teofillia Daniłowicz
6. Jakub Ludwik Sobieski
26. Henri Albert de La Grange d'Arquien
13. Marie Casimire Louise de la Grange d'Arquien
27. Françoise de La Châtre
3. Maria Klementyna Sobieska
28. Wolfgang Wilhelm, Count Palatine of Neuburg
14. Philipp Wilhelm, Elector Palatine
29. Magdalene of Bavaria
7. Countess Palatine Hedwig Elisabeth Amelia of Neuburg
30. George II, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt
15. Landgravine Elisabeth Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt
31. Sophia Eleonore of Saxony
Monument to the Royal Stuarts
"Óró sé do bheatha abhaile"
Prince Charlie's Targe
Palazzo di San Clemente
The Skye Boat Song
^ Additional Manuscripts, British Library, 30,090, quoted in Frank
McLynn, Charles Edward Stuart: A Tragedy in Many Acts (London:
Routledge, 1988), 8.
Charles Edward Stuart
Charles Edward Stuart pp. 449–54
^ McLynn, Frank. Charles Edward Stuart: a tragedy in many acts
^ a b "
Charles Edward Stuart
Charles Edward Stuart – Jacobites, Enlightenment and the
Clearances – Scotland's History". Archived from the original on 10
^ "Who was Bonnie Prince Charlie?". Essortment.com. Archived from the
original on 25 May 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
^ Longmate p. 149
^ "Lost Bonnie Prince Charlie portrait found in Scotland". BBC News.
22 February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
^ Michael Hook and Walter Ross, The 'Forty-Five. The Last Jacobite
Rebellion (Edinburgh: HMSO, The National Library of Scotland, 1995),
^ Ó Fiaich, Tomás (1974). "The O'Neills of the Fews". Seanchas Ard
Mhacha. 7 (2): 312.
^ "Charles Edward Stewart: The Young Pretender". The Scotsman. UK.
Retrieved 5 May 2010.
^ Queen Anne and the 1707 Act of Union Archived 14 February 2007 at
the Wayback Machine. ALBA—The Escape of the Young Pretender
^ McLynn. The Jacobites p. 35
^ McLynn (1759) p. 78
^ Royal Stuart Journal Number 1, 2009
^ McLynn (1759) p. 82
^ McLynn (1759) p. 81
^ McLynn (1759) p. 84
^ Mayne, Ethel Colburn (6 May 1909). Enchanters of Men (Second ed.).
London: Methuen & Co. p. 206. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
^ Anonymous. "Bonnie Prince Charlie". History.co.uk. Retrieved
^ Francois R. Velde. "Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family".
Heraldica.org. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
Chidsey, Donald Barr. Bonnie Prince Charlie. London: Williams &
Daiches, David. Charles Edward Stuart: The Life and Times of Bonnie
Prince Charlie. London: Thames & Hudson, 1973.
Douglas, Hugh. Charles Edward Stuart. London: Hale, 1975.
Kybett, Susan M. Bonnie Prince Charlie: A Biography of Charles Edward
Stuart. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1988.
McLynn, Frank. 1759: The Year Britain Became Master of the World.
London: Pimlico, 2005
McLynn, Frank. Charles Edward Stuart: A Tragedy in Many Acts. London:
McLynn, Frank. The Jacobites. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul,
Longmate, Norman. Island Fortress: The Defence of Great Britain,
1603–1945. Harper Collins, 1993.
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Charles Edward Stuart
McFerran, Noel S. Charles III
Charles Edward Stuart, 1720–1788
Ascanius; or, the Young Adventurer
Charles Edward Stuart
Charles Edward Stuart National Galleries of Scotland
Oró Sé do Bheatha 'Bhaile video on
YouTube A song for the second
The Jacobite Rebellion, BBC Radio 4 discussion with Murray Pittock,
Stana Nenadic & Allan Macinnes (In Our Time, May 8, 2003).
Charles Edward Stuart
House of Stuart
Born: 31 December 1720 Died: 31 January 1788
Titles in pretence
James Francis Edward Stuart
Henry Benedict Stuart
The Age of Enlightenment
Liberté, égalité, fraternité
Jean le Rond d'Alembert
Étienne Bonnot de Condillac
Marquis de Condorcet
Claude Adrien Helvétius
Marquis de Sade
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Georg Hamann
Johann Gottfried von Herder
Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Frederik van Leenhof
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz
Stanisław August Poniatowski
Andrzej Stanisław Załuski
Józef Andrzej Załuski
Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo
Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro
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