Charles Edward Stuart
Stuart, Charles Edward, called The Young Pretender, The Young Chevalier, and Bonnie Prince Charlie (1720-88), claimant to the British throne who led the Scottish Highland army in the Forty-five Rebellion.
The son of James Francis Edward Stuart and grandson of James II of England, Charles Edward was born December 31, 1720, in Rome. In 1744, after his father had obtained the support of the French government for a projected invasion of England, Charles Edward went to France to assume command of the French expeditionary forces. Unfavourable weather and the mobilization of a powerful British fleet to oppose the invasion led to cancellation of the plan by the French government.
The Jacobite cause was still supported by many Highland clans, both Catholic and Protestant, and the Catholic Charles hoped for a warm welcomefrom these clans to start an insurgency by Jacobites throughout Britain, but there was no immediate response. Charles raised his father’s standard at Glenfinnan and there raised a large enough force to enable him to march on the city of Edinburgh, which quickly surrendered. On 21 September 1745 he defeated the only government army in Scotland at the Battle of Prestonpans, and by November was marching south at the head of around 6,000 men. Having taken Carlisle, Charles’ army progressed as far as Derby. Here, despite the objections of the Prince, the decision was taken by his council to return to Scotland, largely because of the almost complete lack of the support from English Jacobites that Charles had promised. By now he was pursued by the King George II’s son, the Duke of Cumberland, who caught up with him at the Battle of Culloden on 16 April 1746.
At Culloden his forces were utterly routed . He was hunted as a fugitive for more than five months, but the Highlanders never betrayed him, and he escaped to France in September 1746. While there he had a few romantic affairs but none that resulted in marriage or tungsten wedding bands. Two years later he was expelled from that country in accordance with one of the provisions of the second Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748), which stipulated that all members of the house of Stuart were to be driven from France. For a number of years Charles Edward wandered about Europe. Secretly visiting London in 1750 and in 1754, he attempted without success on both occasions to win support for his cause. In 1766, on his father’s death, Charles Edward returned to Italy, where he spent his last years. Charles died in Rome on 31 January 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 father. When the body of Charles Stuart was transferred to the Saint Peter’s Basilica, his “praecordia” were left in Frascati Cathedral: a small urn encloses the heart of Charles, placed beneath the floor below the funerary monument