f Charlie had succeeded, Britain’s current Prince Charles would be living in obscurity housed in a modest flat somewhere in the south of England. Charles Edward Stuart -- remembered affectionately by many as Bonnie Prince Charlie, but as the Young Pretender to others -- would have ascended to the throne and royal lineage would have taken a different course.
It was a messy and complicated affair to say the least. It was a seventeenth-century power struggle that climaxed two generations before Charlie. Pulling, unraveling and reweaving the threads of government by religious and political rivalry brought about the exile of James II, Charlie’s grandfather. Protestant parliament had ousted the Catholic James II to install a king more agreeable to their beliefs. Enter William and Mary – as in William and Mary College in Virginia, USA.
Religion wasn’t the only reasoning for the riff. James II believed in the Divine Rights of Kings, a concept where rulers were chosen by God to rule the people. Protestant Parliament believed that kings were, by-god, chosen by the people to rule under their direction. The ideological differences heated up to cook a marbled-cake swirl of religious and political consequences that still haunt the British Isles. Alas, James II was booted off the island nation and landed in Italy.
William of Orange, who wasn’t the least English or Scottish, nor did he care to be, was married to Mary Stuart, Charlie’s great-aunt. Mary happened to be the most convenient and closest heir to the throne who could replace James II. Best of all, she was Protestant.
Now, James III, who became know as the Old Pretender, was born shortly before his father James II was thrown out (see, I told you it was complicated.) To make matters worse, young James, the Old Pretender, was suspected by many to actually be the son of General Theophius Oglethorpe. It was believed that he had been
smuggled into the Queen’s bedchamber in a warming pan – James, not Oglethorpe.
Upon the death of James II his Jacobite supporters, who took their names from the Latin name for James, Jacobus, crowned his son, James III, king even though he was still in exile. In an attempt to regain his crown James II led an ill-fated rebellion in Scotland in 1715. Not to be left in the dust of history, in 1745 James II decided to attempt again.
Enter Bonnie Prince Charlie. His grandfather had arrived in Scotland with and army of supporters and help from the French. Sadly, Charlie arrived with seven friends and an IOU from France. Eventually his army of French, Irish and Scottish troops hovered around 7,000 men.
On Culloden Moor in Inverness-shire The Jacobite army of Charles Edward Stuart was defeated by superior troops under the command of the duke of Cumberland.
Today Scots fondly remember “The ‘46” and sport their “Jacobite” shirts similar to those worn in the time – unless, of course you agree with the other side who call the garment a “Culloden Shirt”.
Copyright, KiltMagazine.com / J Byous Co. 2005
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