Bonnie Prince Charlie: Outlaw, Rogue and Lover

The powder-pale face of Prince Charles Edward Stewart is in itself an icon of Scottish history, but the adventurous and turbulent life story of this prominent figure of Scottish history is rarely told.

Born in Rome in the early 18th century, Bonnie Prince Charlie was the son of an exile, his father, the previous heir to the throne of England. In his mid-twenties, with no battle experience of training of war (very unusual for any young man of that era, especially for one of royal blood), a devout follower of Catholicism, Bonnie Prince Charlie disembarked from Rome for Scotland on a French ship. His disguise as a French academic would only get him so far; the rugged Scottish clans did not appreciate the dandy French fashion of this young foreigner landing upon their home soil. Despite this, Bonnie Prince Charlie was unperturbed by the cold welcoming from the Scots and hoisted the royal flag at Glenfinnan, where it can still be seen today atop a UK golf hotel.

By some great feat of charisma, or just a miracle (it’s still not exactly known how), Bonnie Prince Charlie raised an army of Scots and marched on Derby and London, winning various battles and skirmishes on the way, before he and his army were finally exhausted and beaten and forced to retreat. After one final victory in Scotland, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army were met with their downfall at a final battle with the English.

The prince soon fled and lay low for several months, with a truly outrageous bounty upon his head, with almost every English soldier in the country looking for him. Despite the promise of an unspeakable sum of reward money, his loyal Highland allies continued to harbour and protect him, giving him food and shelter despite the frightening punishments for treason that threatened them all. One of the prince’s most devout followers, by the name of Flora McDonald, soon became a lover, who, in his noblest of moves, he urged to flee to Ireland. So, next time you’re on one of those spa breaks in Scotland, just think of the place’s turbulent history!

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September 7, 2011 | Author: | Posted in History

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