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Digital Subscriptions > History Revealed > August 2017 > Bonnie Prince Charlie

Bonnie Prince Charlie

His rebellion may have been short-lived and ultimately unsuccessful, but the exiled Stuart prince remains a Scottish hero, reveals Jonny Wilkes

BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE AND THE FORTY-FIVE

WHO WERE THE JACOBITES?

IN A NUTSHELL

Their name taken from the Latin word for ‘James’, the Jacobites spent decades attempting to restore King James II of England and Ireland and VII of Scotland, along with his Stuart descendants.

After reigning for three years, the unpopular Roman Catholic king – Bonnie Prince Charlie’s grandfather – had been deposed and sent into exile during the so-called Glorious Revolution of 1688. His Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William of Orange (the most powerful man in the Netherlands) took power.

FAMILY IN EXILE James VII of Scotland and II of England (right) after being deposed
ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST/© HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II 2017 X1, ALAMY X1, GETTY X2

The passing of the 1701 Act of Settlement then forbade Catholics from succeeding, meaning the stronger claim of James’s son (James Francis Edward, the Old Pretender) was overlooked and, in 1714, the Elector of Hanover, George, became king.

Not all Jacobites were Roman Catholics – support derived from a belief in the divine right of kings, hope for greater religious toleration or a desire to break the new Union between England and Scotland, while others used the movement to settle scores. They launched several campaigns from strongholds in Scotland and Ireland, but with no success. The closest Jacobites got proved to be Bonnie Prince Charlie’s rebellion.

FOREVER YOUNG This bronze statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie in Derby marks the southernmost point reached by his Jacobite rebellion – aka the Forty-Five

Bonnie Prince Charlie convened a council of war on 5 December 1745 with no doubt in his mind of its purpose: to plan the next advance in his magnificent invasion of England. He had reason to be brimming with such confidence. His army marched across the border from Scotland less than a month earlier and, still undefeated, had already reached Derby – some 110 miles from London and from Charles’s birthright, the throne of the United Kingdom.

EMERGENCY EXIT James flees Ireland in 1690 after defeat at the Battle of the Boyne
ROYAL COLLECTION TRUST/© HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II 2017 X1, GETTY X1, COURTESY OF NATIONAL MUSEUMS SCOTLAND X1
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About History Revealed

Discover the daring escapes and rescue missions of the Dunkirk evacuation, find out how the Victorians revolutionised British summers with the creation of the seaside holiday, and meet the exotic dancer-turned-World War I spy, Mata Hari.
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