James Francis Edward Stuart

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James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales (James Francis Edward Stuart; "The Old Pretender" or "The Old Chevalier"; 10 June 1688 – 1 January 1766) was the son of the deposed James II of England (James VII of Scotland). As such, he claimed the English, Scottish and Irish thrones (as James III of England and Ireland and James VIII of Scotland) from the death of his father in 1701, when he was recognized as king of England, Scotland and Ireland by his cousin Louis XIV of France. Following his death in 1766 he was succeeded by his son Charles Edward Stuart in the Jacobite Succession.

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Birth and childhood

From the moment of his birth, on 10 June 1688, at St. James's Palace, the prince was the subject of controversy. He was born to the reigning king, James II of England (and VII of Scotland), and his Roman Catholic second wife, Mary of Modena, and as such was automatically Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay among other titles.

The Wars of Religion were fresh in the minds of the populace, and many British feared a revived Catholic dominance of the government. James II had two adult daughters from his first marriage who had been raised as Protestants. As long as there was a possibility of one of them succeeding him, his opponents saw his rule as only a temporary aberration. When people began to fear that James's second wife, Mary, would produce a son and heir, a movement grew to replace him with his elder daughter Princess Mary and his son-in-law/nephew, William of Orange.

When the young prince was born, a rumour immediately spread that a call for a warming pan had been the pretext for a substitution, implying that James and Mary's baby was allegedly stillborn.[citation needed] On 10 December, within six months of his birth, Mary of Modena took baby James to France, worried about his safety, while his father continued to fight (unsuccessfully) to retain his crown.[citation needed] James and his sister Louisa Maria, were brought up in France.[citation needed] There, James was recognised by his cousin, King Louis XIV of France, as the rightful heir to the English and Scottish thrones and became the focus for the Jacobite movement.[citation needed]

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