The Auld Alliance

Scottish Pub - Paris

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Son of uncrowned Stuart King James III of Britain and grandson of the last crowned Stuart king - James II, who had ruled from 1685-88.

Charles Edward Louis Philip Casimir Stuart had trained in warfare and had fought bravely at the siege of Gaeta in Italy. He had been brought up a Roman Catholic. Although an important figure is Scottish History, Charles Edward Stuart was not of course a Scot. In 1744 his father began an attempt, with French help, to regain the British throne from the ruling Hanoverians. Charles was to command the French invasion forces.

This entire expedition was cancelled due to bad weather and a British naval build up. Little further French assistance was fore coming. In July Charles landed on the west coast of Scotland, raised his standard at Glenfinnan on 19 August 1745 and built a small but dedicated army of Highlanders (about 2500 men) for his Jacobite cause. The '45 Jacobite rebellion had begun. By September he occupied Edinburgh and destroyed the Hanoverian Government army of John Cope at Prestonpans outside Edinburgh.

In November he crossed into England with almost 6000 men and marched to Derby. English Catholics did not rise for his Jacobite cause, the backing he expected from France still did not materialise and faced with a Government army five times larger, he withdrew back to Scotland. On 16th April 1746 he was finally defeated at Culloden by the Duke of Cumberland. The battle lasted little more than an hour but the massacre which followed lasted until nightfall and for weeks after vicious reprisals were enacted by the Government forces. Several thousand people are reckoned to have been killed, many who had nothing to do with the battle or even the Jacobite cause.

After 5 months of evading capture Charles himself escaped by ship to France. Although some Highland Clans had assisted Charles, many others did not. This wasn't a war between Scotland and England and it was not a religious war, it was a final putting to rest of the ideals of Stuart Monarchy which had been rejected by the majority of both Scots and English half a century earlier. It is worth noting that there were more Scots fighting on the Government side at Culloden than on the Jacobite. The lasting effect of Charles's campaign on the Highlands of Scotland should not be understated. Even though many (most?) Highlanders hadn't backed his cause, Highland culture, language and dress was suppressed for decades to come.

In 1750 Charles actually visited London secretly. He tried for years to interest various European powers in assisting his cause, but to no avail. By the mid-1760's his claims to the British throne were no longer recognised by the Pope and European powers. In 1788 he finally died having spent almost all his life in exile.

sources: Lloyd Duhaime, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, www.scotsmart.com