Bonnie Prince Carlie
Charles Edward Louis Philip Casimir Stuart, Son of exiled Pretender James Francis Edward Stuart (The Old Pretender) and Grandson of James VII. was born in Rome in December 1720. Part of his Youth he spent in the italian University City of Bologna, where he was taught by scottish Tutors.
His Parents’ Marriage was not very happy. After the Birth of his Brother Henry Benedict Maria Clement Stuart (1725), his Mother, the polish Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska, retired to a Convent where she died in January 1735. Charles gained his first War Experience during the War of the polish Succession and participated as an Observer in the Siege of Gaeta.
While his Father gave up the dream to conquer the Crown back, he appointed Charles as Prince Regent in 1743 as heir to the Throne.
The following year, Charles -without the knowledge of his Father- traveled across northern Italy to France to meet with King Louis XV. to ask for the Support of the Stuarts and an Invasion of England. Although he repeatedly promised Troops, Weapons and Money, he refused to receive him personally.
In 1744 a Fleet finally assembled in Dunkirk, but a heavy Storm destroyed the Fleet still in the Harbor and let them go down with Man and Mouse. After this invasion attempt failed, he wrote to his Father:
“The Difficulties and minor Dangers that have befallen me mean nothing, in the Service and Glory of a Father who is so tender and loving to me, and in Service of a Land so precious to him.”
The following period spent Charles in Gravelines and Paris, where he continued to try the french King to deploy Troops, Weapons and Money to move. Imagine being on his own, he asked King Ludwig for Help one last time in a Letter. This letter, and one to his Father, did not reach their Destination until he was on his way to Scotland.
In July 1745 he set sail with two Ships -the La Doutelle and the Elizabeth- but was first on the west coast of Ireland in a Battle with the english Warship H.M.S. Lion involved, in which the Elisabeth was severely damaged.
A few days later, Charles finally landed on the hebridean Island Eriskay, but at first nobody joined him. It was not until Ranald MacDonald called for armed Struggle that Charles was able to set up an Army -mostly members of Highland Clans- and started the second major Jacobite Uprising. Although France’s support failed to materialize, Charles initially gave one Victory the other, but in the ‘Battle of Culloden’ he suffered the sole but decisive Defeat of the Uprising.
Charles escaped and wandered for five months through the Highlands and adjacent islands. Despite receiving a £ 30,000 Reward on his Head, he always found Help and Shelter and was able to leave mainland Scotland through support from farmer’s Daughter Flora MacDonald. Flora disguised Charles as her Maid Betty Burke and rowed with him to the Isle of Skye.
In September 1746, he sailed from Moidart to France, left his fellow Warriors to their fate, while Flora had to pay for their Offense by an eight-month detention in the ‘Tower of London’. After the failed Uprising Charles lived in France, where he first began an Affair with his Cousin Louise de Montbazon, later with Clementina Walkinshaw. The latter, with whom he had a Daughter named Charlotte, left him because of his increasing alcohol consumption. From there, his Place of Residence changed several times between Geneva, Basel and France, from which he was ultimately deported. In 1772 he married Princess Luise von Stolberg-Gedern. Since the marriage remained childless, he legitimized his Daughter Charlotte in 1783. Already in 1766, Charles returned to Rome when he learned of his Father’s Death in January of the same Year, to claim his inheritance. Pope Clement XIII. however, refused him the Title King over Scotland, England and Ireland, moved to Florence in 1774 and from then on called himself Duke of Albany.
Flora MacDonald married in 1750 and stayed with her Husband from 1773 to 1779 in the United States, but returned after the Independence of America with her Family back to Scotland, where she died in 1790 and was beggart on the Isle of Skye.
In 1880 a high Cross with the following Inscription was erected on her grave
A name that will be mentioned in History, and if Courage and Fidelity be virtues, mentioned with Honour.
In front of the Castle in Inverness today stands a Statue in Memory of her.
Charles Edward Louis Philip Casimir Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie (handsome Prince Charlie) for his appearance, died at the end of January 1788 in Rome, without ever having reconnected with Flora and became a brother in Frascati Cathedral Henry was buried there. In 1807 he was transferred to St. Peter’s Basilica of the Vatican, where his father and brother were buried. Only after his death were his claims to the crown recognized by the pope.
Charles Edward Louis Philip Casimir Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie (handsome Prince Charlie) for his appearance, died at the end of January 1788 in Rome, never again having contact with Flora and was buried in Frascati Cathedral there his Brother Henry was Bishop. In 1807 he was transferred to St. Peter’s Basilica of the Vatican, where his father and brother were buried.
Only after his Death were his claims to the Crown recognized by the Pope.
His attempt to take the Throne was filmed in 1948 in the historical Drama ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’.
The Song ‘The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond’ (see below) is said to be based on a Legend of a Letter from the Soldier Donald McDonald of Clan Keppoch, whom he wrote to his Mistress Moira. In the Text, legend says, it is about two Soldiers from the retinue of Charles, who were captured after the Uprising of 1745. One was released and went home on the High Road (the Path over the Hills), while the other was condemned to Death and can only come over the Low Road -the Path of the Dead through the Underworld- to his loved ones.
The Song ‘Skye Boat Song’, written by Sir Harold Boulton while the text was later written by his Wife Anne Campbelle McLoad, tells the Story of Charles` Escape to the Isle of Skye.
Even today, his Nickname (Bonnie Prince Charlie) is common, as one of the formal Jackets you wear to a Kilt is named after him.