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On September 20th, 1746, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender to the English throne, commonly known as Bonny Prince Charlie,’ left Loch Nam Uamh in his beloved Scotland forever.
After his rout at the battle of Culloden on April 16th that same year, the English had put a huge £30,000 pound price on his head. There was no place to go but into exile.
Christened Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Silvester Severino Maria Stuart, the prince was born not in Scotland but in Rome, on December 31, 1720.
He was the grandson of James II (1633-1701), who had been the last Catholic King of England, Ireland and Scotland from 1685 until he was banished and forced to abdicate after the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
His daughter, Mary II, and William III of Orange, his son-in-law and nephew, both Protestants, jointly took his place on the throne.
When, in 1744, the French supported an attempt by his father, James Francis Edward Stuart, known as the Old Pretender, to invade England, Charles Edward led the insurrection.
Whilst many of the highland clans backed the Jacobite cause, Charles Edward did not receive the support he had been promised for the uprising in England, nor did the French send reinforcements.
Defeated and hounded by the Duke of Cumberland, the son of King George II, after five months in hiding, Charles Edward fled to France. His supporters were not as fortunate as Cumberland’s reprisals were ferocious.
Called the Butcher by the Scots, he executed many of them, confiscated their land and prohibited them from wearing kilts and playing bagpipes.
To this day many in Scotland and elsewhere continue to love and admire Bonnie Prince Charlie as the young, romantic hero whose exploits in the ill-fated 1745 rebellion are legendary.