Monday, December 31, 2012

Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) is Born - 1720

Charles Edward Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender was born on December 31, 1720 in Rome, Italy. He was the second Jacobite pretender to the British throne. This claim was as the eldest son of James Francis Edward Stuart, himself the son of King James II. Charles is perhaps best known as the instigator of the unsuccessful Jacobite uprising of 1745, in which he led an insurrection to restore an absolute monarchy in England, which ended in defeat at the Battle of Culloden that effectively ended the Jacobite cause. Charles's flight from Scotland after the uprising has rendered him a romantic figure of heroic failure. In 1759 he was involved in a French plan to invade the British Isles which was abandoned following British naval victories.  

In 1766, Charles's father died. Pope Clement XIII had recognized James as King of England, Scotland, and Ireland as "James III and VIII" but did not give Charles the same recognition. In 1772, Charles married Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern. They lived first in Rome but, in 1774, moved to Florence where Charles began to use the title "Count of Albany" as an alias. In 1783, Charles signed an act of legitimization for his illegitimate daughter Charoltte, 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 honors did not give Charlotte any right of succession to the throne. Charles died in Rome on January 31, 1788. He was first buried in the Cathedral of Frascati, where his brother henry Benedict Stuart was bishop. At Henry's death in 1807, Charles's remains were moved to the crypt of Saint 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 Saint Peter's Basilica. 

Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Royal Tombs: A Guide to the Lives and Burial Places of British Monarchs. The book can be purchased from Amazon or Barnes and Noble through the following links: 

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