A Family Affair…

The Jacobite story is a long one and has many complexities to it, from religion, to politics, to economics; there is a lot to contend with. But, the first thing you need to get you head around is the family connections, of which there are many.

family tree

Firstly, let’s look at the Jacobites. We can start with James VII & II who was king from 1685-1688 when he was deposed. This is what kicked off the first Jacobite Rising in 1688, known as the Glorious Revolution. We then follow a pretty simple line with his son James VIII & III becoming ‘the Old Pretender’ and trying to take back the throne, and then his son Prince Charles Edward Stuart as ‘the Young Pretender’ making his attempt in 1745.

Meanwhile, there are obviously changes in the monarchy when James VII & II was deposed. The crown first passed to his daughter Mary, who ruled with her husband William of Orange. When they both died without heirs it then moved to James VII & II’s other daughter, Anne, who ruled until 1714.

At this point though there was a problem. The next successor should have been James VIII & III but many in the government did not want this. So, whilst Anne was still on the throne,  they passed a law that prevented Catholics from taking the throne, thereby ruling James VIII & III out of contention.

 

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House of Stuart – made by local school pupils

 

 

To find the next monarch they went back through the family tree to find the closest, suitable, relative. This takes us back to James VI & I whose granddaughter was Sophia of Hanover. She was named as the successor to the throne. Unfortunately, she died shortly before Anne so the next monarch was her son, George I.

By the time we reach the 1745 rebellion we have George I’s son, George II on the throne and it is his younger son, William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland who fights Prince Charles Edward Stuart at Culloden. Both men were 25 years old and were distant cousins.

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House of Hanover – made by local school pupils

 

 

 

In terms of other key historical figures which we sometimes get asked about at Culloden. Mary Queen of Scots was the mother of James VI & I. She was also the great niece of Henry VIII and challenged his daughter Elizabeth I to the throne but failed. Robert the Bruce was alive from 1274-1329, so quite a while before the Jacobites, but he was a direct ancestor of the Stuarts as James VI is his 8x great grandson.

We hope that helped you make a bit more sense of the family tree and the succession of the monarchs. As always please like, share, tweet, comment and feel free to ask us any questions you may have.

All the best, K & D

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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

Henry – The Other Stuart

Most of history remembers Bonnie Prince Charlie and his romanticised attempt to take back the Stuart throne for his father, but little is mentioned about his brother, Henry Benedict Stuart, who was the final public Jacobite heir to the Stuart throne.

Today we take a closer look at Henry and discover more about his history….

Firstly his name was not simply Henry Benedict Stuart, it was in fact Henry Benedict Thomas Edward Maria Clement Francis Xavier Stuart, but that’s a little long to keep saying so for now we’ll make do with Henry. Henry was born on 6th March 1725 in Palazo Muti in Rome and was baptised by Pope Benedict XIII on the same day. From birth he was known as the Duke of York and he was apparently a rather intelligent child who could spell and write better than his older brother Charles.

Henry Benedict Stuart aged 13

In 1745 Henry travelled to France to help gain French support for Charles expedition and was there when Charles escaped in 1746 to greet him when he returned to France. By all accounts Henry appears to have been more introverted than Charles and more cautious in his approach to problems. However, he did manage to secure French troops and ships to support the ’45 but ongoing delays meant they never reached Scotland in time to aid his brother. Consequently many Jacobites felt he had not done enough to support the Jacobite cause and his lack of aid was a source of friction between the brothers.

The brothers relationship became more strained when, on return to Rome, Henry persued his desires to become a Cardinal in the Catholic Church. Charles has tried not to emphasise his familys Catholicism, fearing it would prevent the Protestants in Britain from joining his cause, and therefore he was not particularly pleased with Henrys descision to join the church. Henry was ordained as a Cardinal Deacon on 30th June, 1747 and was very committed in his duties becoming Cardinal of Santa Maria, Portici, on 3rd July, 1747, before being ordained as a priest on 1st September, 1748.

Circle of Anton Raphael Mengs, Henry Benedict Maria Clement Stuart, Cardinal York (ca 1750) -002.jpg
Henry Benedict Stuart

Henrys father James, the Old Pretender, fully supported his sons desire to become a priest but personal relationships began to come between the father and son. Henry became very close with his majordomo, Giovanni Lercari, and this led to serious family tension eventually resutling in Henrys father attempting to have Lercari dismissed from service. Henry responded by attempting to seperate his finances from his father and a public scandal was only avoided by the input of Pope Benedict XIV who acted as a peace maker. Whilst some suggest there was more to the relationship than meets the eye nothing was ever proven and many have pointed to Henrys strict views against all impropriety to refute any allegations.

Henry and Charles would also reconcile with the help of Charles daughter Charlotte and it was Henry who to to convince Charles to stop drinking and offered him financial support in his later years. On the death of Prince Charles, Henry became the Jacobite claimant to the throne and apparently declared himself Henry IX but did not take any action to persue his claims. For most of the next forty years Henry lived in the town of Frascati just south of Rome where he was known as a very active bishop who led a simple life and is remembered for his acts for charity.

The Stuart memorial in St Peters Basilica in Rome

When Henry died in 1807 he was buried along with his brother, father and mother in the crypt of St Peters Basilica in Rome. He was succeeded in all his claimed British rights by his nearest blood-relative and friend, Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia. Charles was the great-grandson of Henrietta Anne, the youngest daughter of Charles I but neither asserted nor renounced his Jacobite claims, nor have any of his successors to this day.

Henry certainly followed a different path to his brother Charles and is largely remembered for his work in the Catholic Church eventually becoming Dean of the College of Cardinals in Rome and Cardinal Bishop of Ostia and Velletri.

Hopefully this little insight has piqued your curiosity about the often forgotten Henry Stuart and as always please like, follow, share, comment, tweet, reblog and keep coming back for more intriguing stories.

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.

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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