Charles Edward Stuart

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Prince Charles Edward Louis Philip Casimir Stuart (31 December 1720 – 31 January 1788) commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie or The Young Pretender was the Jacobite pretender to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. This claim was as the eldest son of James Francis Edward Stuart, and grandson of James II and VII. Charles is perhaps best known as the instigator of the unsuccessful Jacobite uprising of 1745, where he led an insurrection which ended in a 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 later representations.


Early life

Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Silvester Severino Maria Stuart was born in Rome, Italy, on 20 December 1720, where his father had been given a residence by Pope Clement XI. He spent almost all his childhood in Rome and Bologna. Prince Charles Edward was the son of the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart, son of exiled Stuart King, James II and his second wife Mary of Modena. His father was called the 'Pretender' because many believed he was not the King's true son—to those who feared a Catholic dynasty in England, his birth had seemed too convenient and was viewed with great suspicion.[2]

His childhood in Rome was one of privilege, being brought up Catholic in a loving but argumentative family. Being the last legitimate heirs of the House of Stuart, his family lived with a sense of pride and staunchly believed in the Divine Right of Kings. The talk of regaining the thrones of England and Scotland for the Stuarts was a constant topic of conversation in the household, principally reflected in his father's often morose and combative moods.[2]

His grandfather, James II and VII of Scotland, had ruled the country from 1685 to 1689, at which time he was deposed by the Dutch Protestant, William of Orange, in the Revolution of 1688. James II had aimed to bring England back into the Catholic fold and, in the process, had irritated and alarmed the powerful statesmen of the day. Since the exile of James II, the so-called 'Jacobite Cause' had striven to return the Stuarts to their rightful place as the rulers of England and Scotland (later Great Britain). Prince Charles Edward was to play a major part in this ultimate goal.

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