The Romance of Jacobitism

The history of Jacobitism is long and complex and is debated over in many different ways. Today we thought we’d take a little look into how the Jacobites have been romanticised over the years since Culloden.

Culloden Battlefield


One of the most obvious examples of this is ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’. In his lifetime he was Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the man who attempted to lead the Jacobites to victory against the British Government and reclaim the throne for his father. Following his defeat however, he became an alcoholic and a wife beater but many do not know of this side of him, they only know the ‘Bonnie Prince’ which did not come about until after the end of the ’45.

So how did he become such a ‘hero’? The Jacobites capture peoples attention for many reasons. They could be portrayed as the underdogs fighting for what they believed in. Their defeat in 1746 led to the pacification of the Highlands and the destruction of a way of life. It is not hard to see how the main characters can form a good vs evil with Bonnie Prince Charlie and ‘The Butcher’ Cumberland.

Culloden Memorial Cairn


In the Victorian era we saw the publication of ‘Waverley’ by Sir Walter Scott. This book helped popularise a relatively new notion of the romance of the Jacobites in the age of Scottish Enlightenment. After this we then have King George IV visiting Scotland, the first visit by a reigning monarch in nearly two centuries. His visit was orchestrated in part by Sir Walter Scott who used the occasion to bring old traditions back to life. Clan chieftains were celebrated, tartan worn proudly and Scotland was swept up in a new wave of popularity.

It is in the Victorian age where we see clan tartans born. In Jacobite times there were no specific clan tartans, patterns were often regional based on available materials. But in the 1800’s each clan could have their own design and wear it with pride. So in Victorian times as the Scottish Highlands become more accessible and the idea of clans and tartans become popular it is not too hard to see how the Jacobites become another symbol of Scotland and are morphed into characters that might not quite match the reality.

25613 Culloden 259.jpg
Culloden Grave Stones


The Jacobites have become to some an image of a brave and loyal Scottish warrior even though the truth can be much more bitter. Firstly, Jacobites were not all Scottish, there were men from England, Wales, France and more supporting the Jacobite cause. Not only that but many men did not choose to be a Jacobite. Men were forced out of their homes to fight and if they refused they would have faced terrible penalties. Secondly, whilst they could certainly be classed as brave they could be as brutal as any other army in their acts against their enemies. When discussing history today it is important we are not swept up in an idealised situation and recognise the truth of people actions and their outcomes.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart has been viewed as selfish, arrogant and unworthy and it is important we portray these interpretations of the man as well as the image of ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ who was brave, heroic and loyal.

We hope you enjoyed our wee insight into the world of romanticised history. There are many stories to tell which we couldn’t possibly cover in one go. As always please like, comment, share, tweet and keep coming back for more.

All the best, K & D

Prince Charles’ Daughter

Prince Charles Edward Stuart is a name we mention, a lot, but how many of us know about his daughter, Charlotte? The answer is usually, not many. Today we take a look at this child who was Prince Charles’s only child to survive infancy.

Firstly, the reason you may not have heard of Charlotte is she was an illegitimate child. She was born on 29th October 1753 at Liege to Charles and his mistress Clementina Wilkinshaw. We know she was baptised as Roman Catholic in the Church of Sainte Marie-des-Fonts.

Charlotte, Duchess of Albany


By the time she was seven the relationship between her parents was a mess. Charles was said to be abusive and violent towards Clementina and so her mother turned to Charles’ father to help her and Charlotte leave Charles. James offered her a annuity of 10,000 livres and apparently helped her make her way to Paris. Here she entered the convent of the Nuns of the Visitation. Charles was said to be furious and refused to pay anything towards his daughter. For the next decade Charlotte lived with her mother in various convents with the support of James, her grandfather and later Charles’ brother, Henry.

Charlotte began to write to her father, even more so after his marriage to Princess Louis of Stolberg-Gedern. She wanted him to bring her to Rome and legitimise her. Eventually Charles accepted on the condition that she leave her mother behind. However, Charlotte refused and Charles broke of all contact, despite the continued letters and pleas from Charlotte. Without any legitimacy or permission Charlotte could not marry. In the end she became the mistress to a Ferdinand de Rohan who was in the same postion and could not marry himself. She had three children: two daughters, Marie Victoire and Charlotte, and finally a son, Charles Edward. Her children were kept secret, and remained largely unknown until the 20th century, certainly not by Prince Charles.

Portrait of Clementina, Charlottes mother


It wasn’t until 1783 that Charles finally began to take an interest in his daughter. His marriage to Princess Louise was over and he had fallen seriously ill. Finally he signed an act of legitimisation and made Charlotte his heir. The following year he invited Charlotte to his home in Florence and Charlotte travelled over from France to see him, leaving her children in her mothers care. She enlisted the help of Henry to return Charles to Rome in 1785 and stayed with him as his companion and carer until he died in 1788.

Sadly Charlotte was not healthy herself and suffered from problems with her liver. She died on 17th November 1789 aged just 36 of liver cancer. Her children remained with her mother raised in anonymity and it was years before their esxistence was known. Once her story came to light though it certainly caught peoples imagination. Rumours of a Stuart heir (even if they were illegitimate) could not be ignored and Robert Burns even wrote a lament to Charlotte entitled ‘ The Bonnie Lass of Albanie’

We hope you enjoyed this insight into Charlotte. As always please share, like, tweet and join us as we explore more of the Stuart family.

All the best, K & D

After Culloden: the Prince and the Butcher

Culloden is considered by many to be the end of the ’45 Rising but what happened to the two men who led the armies at this important battle?


Prince Charles Edward Stuart by Allan Ramsay


Considering the Jacobites first, their leader, Prince Charles Edward Stuart did not fall at the battle but was able to escape the field. The day after Culloden those Jacobites who had been able to escape made their way to Ruthven barracks to regroup. Here they expected to find Prince Charles, but when they arrived they were met only with orders to disperse. Abandoning the cause Prince Charles spent the next five months on the run. He managed to find his way between loyal supporters and evaded the government’s roving eyes spending time in the Hebrides to the west of mainland Scotland. He was lucky in that his men never betrayed him but he knew if he was to survive in the long time he would have to make his way back to the continent.


Prince Charles as an older man

Finally, in September 1746. Prince Charles met up with a French rescue ship and sailed to France. Initially he was greeted warmly but in 1748 following the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle , which helped bring the war between France and Britain to an end, he was expelled from the country. For several years Charles lived with his Scottish mistress, Clementina Walkinshaw and the two had a daughter, Charlotte in 1753. The relationship was not to last though and in 1760 it was over amid tales of jealousy, alcoholism and violence. Eventually Charles made his way to Rome and married nineteen year old Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern in 1772. Once again the relationship did not prosper and Louise left Charles in 1780 with claims of physical abuse. From 1783 Charles was known to be ill and was nursed by his daughter but not long after his 67th birthday he suffered a stroke and died on 31st January 1788.


William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland

On the Government side the Duke of Cumberland was initially hailed a hero in his defeat of the Jacobites and he quickly set about ensuring there would not be another rebellion. Amongst other things the composer Handel wrote ‘Judas Maccabaeus’ supposedly for Cumberland which contains the anthem “See the Conquering Hero Comes”. Cumberland was also was given the freedom of the City of  Glasgow and made Chancellor of both Aberdeen and St Andrews Universities.  He spent years trying to improve the army but as word of his brutal treatment of the highlands spread his reputation slowly became tarnished and he was given the name ‘The Butcher’.


William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland

In 1757 Cumberland was given command of the British forces in the Seven Years War but was defeated in the Battle of Hastenbeck. He was severely criticised for his defeat and publicly reprimanded by King George II. Cumberland resigned his office and retired to his estate. A leg wound he received at Dettingen, in 1743, never healed properly and he ended up gaining excessive weight before suffering a stroke in 1760. In 1765 whilst in London he had a heart attack and died on 31st October 1765 aged 44.

Prince Charles is probably the more ‘famous’ of the two men today with his story being romanticised over the years and his tale focussed on the year he was actually in Scotland. History was perhaps not so kind to Cumberland who is most known by his moniker ‘the Butcher’ more than anything else. It is safe to say though that Culloden was a key moment in both these mens lives. We hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into their post-Culloden lives and as always please like, share, tweet, comment and visit us anytime.

All the best, K & D


Maria Clementina Sobieska

We have all heard, and know at least a little, of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) but today we take a look at his mother Maria Clementina Sobieska.

Born in 1702, and granddaughter of Polish king John III Sobieska, Maria was one of Europes wealthiest heiresses. She had connections with courts across Catholic Europe, as well as her sizable dowry.

Portrait of Maria Sobieska

Upon her betrothal to James VIII & III, King George I of Great Britain was said to be rather concerned and greatly opposed the idea. He immediately feared the union would result in children who could then challenge the claim to his throne. In order to reassure George I, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI arrested Maria as she made her way to Italy to marry James. She was confined in Innsbruck Castle but eventually was able to make her escape by deceiving her guards and headed to Bolgna in Italy. Here, on 9th May 1719, she was married by proxy to James who was, at the time, in Spain.

Fours months later the couple finally formalised their marriage in a ceremony in the cathedral of Santa Margherita in Montefiascone, Italy on 3rd September. The couple were recognised as the Catholic monarchs of Britain by Pope Clement XI and accepted his invitation to reside in Rome on a Papal allowance of 12,000 crowns a year. The Pope provided them with a papal guard of troops, gave them accommodation in Rome, plus a country villa at Albano.

Santa Margherita in Montefiascone

The marriage is said to have been a turbulent and unhappy affair. Whilst James was fond of Maria’s beauty and elegance it appears Maria was not so taken with James’ less than stunning appearance. Despite this the couple had two sons; Prince Charles was born in December 1720 and was followed by Prince Henry in 1725.

After the birth of Henry though things turned even more sour. James fired the sons governess, a Mrs Shelton, against Maria’s wishes. Shelton had been Maria’s confidante and after her dismissal Maria decided to leave James and went to live in the convent of St Cecilia in Rome. Maria claimed her husband had been unfaithful and, in order to gain support, she also said he had planned to give his sons a protestant education. These claims ensured that the Pope, the Kingdom of Spain and the general public took Maria’s side in the affairs but it would be three years before the couple finally reconciled in 1728.

Charles and Henry Stuart

In practice however, the couple spent their lives living apart. Maria stayed in Rome whilst James tended to stay at the country house in Albano. Maria’s life was one filled with spates of depression and her commitment to her Catholic religion meant she spent a lot of time in prayer and led to long periods of fasting. Her relationship with James consisted only of formal engagements and they rarely connected on a private level. Her relationships with her sons was also interesting. Her youngest, Henry, was his fathers son and therefore the relationship was poor, but with Charles, the eldest, Maria had a much stronger bond. Indeed, when Charles fell ill in 1732, Maria tended to him despite the fact that he was in Albano at the time and she would have to see James to visit him.

Sadly Maria’s life was cut short when she died aged just 32. On 18th January 1735 her trying lifestyle had caught up with her and she passed away at the Apostolic palace in Rome. She was interred with full royal honours in St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Pope Clement XII ordered she have a state burial. Today there is a monument to her in St Peter’s Basilica. She is one of three women honoured with monuments in the basilica and hers sees her looking down to those of her husband and sons.

Maria Sobieska’s monument at St Peter’s

We hope you enjoyed this brief insight into Maria Sobieska and as always please like, share, tweet, comment and if you get the chance go and see her monument at St Peter’s.

All the best, K & D





Dilemmas at Derby

This week sees the 270th anniversary of ‘Black Friday’, the day the Jacobites turned at Derby and began their long retreat back up to Culloden. So, in honour of this we thought we’d look a little closer at the events that occurred in Derby.

On 3rd December 1745 word reached Derby that a nine or ten thousand strong Jacobite army was about to arrive. The newly formed Derbyshire Blues, under the command of the Duke of Devonshire, decided to retreat fifty miles to Retford and left Derby to its fate.

True enough the following day the Jacobite army entered Derby,  having marched south from Carlisle on 18th November. The entry of the army into the town was carefully planned to give the impression that Charles did indeed have 9,000 men, though the true number was a lot less. At eleven o’clock in the morning the vanguard, consisting of some thirty horse entered the town and ordered quarters for nine thousand men. In the afternoon the life-guards and some of the principal officers on horseback arrived and this was followed by the main body through the course of the evening; entering in detached parties to make the army appear as numerous as possible.  The capital was said to be in panic and the Bank of England in chaos as neither Cumberlands or Wades armies were well placed to tackle the Jacobite army.

The next day, 5th December, the Jacobites called a council meeting in Exeter House to decide the best way to proceed. They were now only 125 miles from London, just six days march and while Charles wanted to continue south and take on London many were against this decision. With the two government armies behind them and a third army defending London some Jacobites were worried they didn’t have enough support. They had not gathered many men on their route south and the long-promised French help had failed to materialise. Lord George Murray argued that during their march south they had seen more enemies for their cause than friends and he feared being penned in on three sides. He argued that even if the Jacobite army defeated on of the Government armies they would undoubtedly lose men and be unfit to face a second battle. If they were defeated so far from home then the reality was they would be captured and likely sentenced to death. The Prince was forced to admit he had no promise of support from English Jacobites and no idea when or if the French would invade.

Exeter House in Derby

As the Jacobites began their deliberations Dudley Bradstreet, a government spy, met the Duke of Cumberland at Lichfield before travelling on to Derby to join the Prince as a ‘Jacobite’. Bradstreet was brought before the council at their second meeting and told them of a supposed fourth force of 9,000 men at Northampton. Apparently this extra army was enough to settle the argument and convince the Jacobites to retreat. However, there is no clear evidence this story is true and even if it is the decision to retreat had already been made at the first meeting with the second simply to try and talk the Prince around which was unlikely to ever happen.

On 6th December 1745, known to the Jacobites as Black Friday, the Jacobites began the march north from Derby  led by Lord George Murray. It is said that only those present at the council of war knew of the retreat and the regular officers and men were given powder and ball making them believe they were heading into battle. When it became clear they were actually in retreat the army was angry and despondent. The Duke of Cumberland did not hear of the retreat until late in the day but was determined to make chase. The Jacobites had a head start so he left most of his infantry behind and hurried on with just cavalry and 1,000 volunteers who claimed to know how to ride. Though not capable of taking on the Jacobites by themselves Cumberland hoped Wade’s army would be able to throw itself in the Jacobites path.

Ironically, unbeknown to Charles the French were preparing to invade England. Charles’s gamble that his military success would prompt the French king to act was paying off, the problem was timing. Charles’s success had been rapid and he had gone into England before the French were ready. When the French learned of the Jacobites retreat though the invasion was cancelled leaving many what ifs to ruminate on over time.

The events of Derby have been questioned by many people and the alternate paths the Jacobites could have taken have been argued over many times. However, the fact remains that Derby was as far south as Prince Charles managed to get in his campaign and his retreat north would eventually lead him to the fields on Drumossie Muir in his final battle.

Statue of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in Derby

We hoped you enjoyed this insight into Derby and the Jacobite ‘Black Friday’, as always please like, share, tweet, comment and if you get the chance visit Derby and see the statue of Prince Charles on Cathedral Green.

All the best, K & D

The Raising of the Standard

This week saw the 270th anniversary of the raising of the Jacobite Standard at Glenfinnan on 19th August 1745.

Last time we looked at the Princes journey as he made his way from the continent to arrive in Scotland but now we thought we’d share what happened as he made his way to Glenfinnan.

Here at Culloden Battlefield we find a lot of people believe that all of the clans joined Prince Charles Edward Stuart when he arrived in Scotland and united to form the Jacobite army but this is far from the truth. In actual fact most clans were sceptical of the Prince. Having arrived in Scotland with very few men, thanks in part to the loss of his convoy ship the Elizabeth, Prince Charles was not in a particularly strong position when he first arrived. He did however have a very strong belief in his cause and a persuasive personality.

Thanks to the Prince landing in such a remote part of the Highlands the Government were unaware of his presence for over a week giving the Prince time to unload his supplies and begin to make his way to Kinlochmoidart. The first authentic account of the Princes arrival did not reach Sir John Cope, Commander in Chief of the Scottish forces until 8th August.

Whilst Prince Charles tried to convince men to join his cause Duncan Forbes, the Chief Justice of Scotland, went to Culloden House where he began the crucial role of organising government support in the North East and setting up independent companies, disrupting Jacobite recruitment.

The first major action of the ’45 Rising occured on 16th August 1745.  The Government sent reinforcements to Fort William to prepare for the Jacobite threat but Prince Charles heard of the plan and informed his supporters and 60 men were captured by the MacDonnell’s of Keppoch. Two companies of Royal Scots government soldiers were taken prisoner at High Bridge over the River Spean. Keppoch MacDonald Highlanders later joined by some Cameron’s and MacDonald’s terrified the soldiers, who it is said were mainly raw recruits from Ireland who were not used to the Highland terrain. They fled until they reached Lagganachadrom where 50 Glengarry Highlanders met them with volleys of gunshot. Donald Cameron of Lochiel then arrived and took charge placing the soldiers in Achnacarry Inn. Royal Scots wounded in the skirmish were treated by Jacobite doctor Achibald Cameron, brother of Cameron of Lochiel. The Government prisoners were then taken with the clan to Glenfinnan where they would meet the Prince.

The ruins of the Highbridge today

On the 19th August Prince Charles landed at Slatach having rowed up Loch Shiel with a guard of fifty men from Clanranald and made his way to Glenfinnan. There was no one waiting for him. He began to despair but then the Highlanders appeared.

Soon there were 1,500 men. Cameron of Lochiel arrived with about 600 clansmen, MacDonald of Keppoch with about 350, and MacDonald of Morar with about 150. Satisfied that he had enough support to mount his rebellion, he climbed the hill behind where the Visitor Centre now stands and raised his father’s standard. James II was proclaimed as King and Prince Charles appointed Prince Regent. The 1745 Rising had truely begun.

An autumn view of the Glenfinnan Monument by Loch Shiel.
An autumn view of the Glenfinnan Monument by Loch Shiel.

Today, the site is marked by the Glenfinnan Monument whichw as erected in 1815 by Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale to commemorate the Jacobites who fought and fell during the 1745 uprising. Designed by James Gillespie Graham it shows a lone kilted highlander surveying the lands around him. There is also a visitors centre with a new exhibition which opened in 2013 to fully tell the story of the history of Glenfinnan.

The Highlander at the top of Glenfinnan Monument

Hope you enjoyed a bit more of Prince Charles’ story and as always please like, share, tweet, comment, follow and if you have the chance head to Glenfinnan to see the monument!

All the best. K & D


The Prince Comes to Scotland

270 years ago on the 23rd July 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart set foot on Scottish soil for the first time.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart

From his birth in Rome, Italy on 31st December 1720 Charles had the potential to be a threat to the Hanoverian throne. Indeed, on the night of his birth it is said Hanover was hit by a fierce storm and Gaelic poets proclaimed his birth as the saviour of his people. The early part of Charles’ life was spent with his brother Henry and during his youth he learnt to read fluently, could speak English, French and Italian, was a capable rider and could fire a gun with a good aim.

In 1737 Charles, under the title of Count Albany made a tour of the Italian cities with great reception and the attention this drew was not welcomed by the Hanoverian government. However, it was not until the following year, 1738, that the earliest notion of Charles trying his fortunes in Scotland appeared but he was refused permission and the next seven years were spent waiting and brooding on the subject.

On 9th January 1744 Prince Charles left Rome to make his way to Paris where he had been invited by Louis XV as they prepared to invade England. Charles, just 24 years old, rode in disguise first as a Neopolitan courtier and then as an officer in the Spanish army to reach Genoa. From here he sailed to Antibes and reached Paris on 8th February 1744 where he spent the next couple of months with the French invasion force preparing for the invasion of England. Unfortunately, on 24th February one of the worst storms in a century damaged the French transports, sinking twelve ships and putting five out of action. The French invasion was cancelled.

Disappointed Charles returned to Paris. Finally, in May of 1745 the French defeated the British at Fontenoy and Prince Charles, apparently fed up of talk and speculation, decided to act. In June he wrote to his father in Rome telling him he had been invited over to Scotland with arms and money to restore the crown to the Stuart line.

Charles borrowed money in Paris and bought a store of arms and ammunition and managed to secure passage on board the Du Teillay captained by a wealthy Irish merchant, Anthony Walsh. He also managed to enlist the aid of a French frigate, the Elizabeth to carry his military stores and convoy the Du Teillay across to Scotland.

At last on 22nd June 1745 the Du Teillay set off from the French coast and set off to Belle Isle to meet up with the Elizabeth. On 5th July both ships set forth for Scotland, but it was not to be an easy crossing. Just four days into the voyage an English frigate, the Lion, met them and engaged the Elizabeth. Unable to outrun the English ship the Elizabeth was forced to fight. On board the Du Teillay the Prince was apparently keen to join the action and help but Walsh ordered that the two frigates must fight it out alone. Over five hours later both the Elizabeth and the Lion were so badly damaged they were forced to retreat and return to their respective ports. Prince Charles had lost his convoy and the vast majority of his supplies and he was urged to go with the Elizabeth back to France. But, Charles refused and the Du Teillay sailed on towards Scotland.

Finally, on the 23rd July 1745 the Prince landed on the small island of Eriskay which lies between Barra and South Uist. Here he disembarked and laid his first foot on Scottish soil. One of the first men he met Alexander Macleod of Boisdale tried to encourage the Prince to return home. Prince Charles reply has gone down in history; ‘I am come home.’

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the background of Prince Charles and as always please like, share, tweet, follow and discover more about the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

All the best. K & D