Bonnie Prince Charlie

Charlie is my right ugly Italian

The romantic myth of the "Young Pretender" as a heroic and wronged Prince, adventuring against the evil usurpers to claim the throne that was rightfully his Father's, is frankly a lot of bollocks and belongs on the side of oatcake tins rather than in the annals of history.

The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 that was sparked by his arrival on these shores was doomed to fail from the start and would never have happened had our Charlie not been so pig-headed and arrogant in his belief that "his people" wanted him.
The simple truth was that most people, including "his" people, did not.

The Stuarts were Catholic. By now, most of the country, with the exception of the Highlands, was Protestant.

Nearly 60 years had passed since the overthrow of the Stuart dynasty and the expulsion of Charles' grandfather, King James, by the Protestant Prince William of Orange. For the first time in a long time, the country was at peace. Nobody wanted another CivilWar. Especially one they could never hope to win.

Flora McDonald - helped
Charlie to escape to prevent
the English using him to
embarrass the Scots if they
captured him

Charlie ignored all the warnings and all the evidence and pressed on regardless.

That he was able to gain the support of the Clans was more a matter of honour and loyalty than of common sense or any real belief in his cause. The Chiefs knew that they were committing suicide, but, unable to convince the Prince of his folly, rallied to his Standard regardless.

The end result of his arrogance was Culloden, and the extermination of the clan system forever.

If you've ever seen the David Niven movie version of Bonnie Prince Charlie, forget it. Charles was an effeminate ponce who spoke not a word of his native Scots. He spoke and behaved Italian, which is to say that he was more suited to mincing around the masked balls of Milan than marching the mountains of Moidart.

He threw childish tantrums when his Generals disagreed with him, which was often.

He was a spoilt brat, used to getting his own way, and who, dangerously, believed in the Divine Right of Kings, even though he wasn't one yet.

In spite of the fact that a reward of £30,000, a lottery-winning sum of money in those days, was offered for information leading to his capture, not one Highlander ever came forward to betray their Prince. Nearly all who helped in his escape were either imprisoned or executed. And "his" people would be persecuted thenceforth to virtual extinction.

Charles' thanks for such unwavering loyalty and sacrifice was to blame his treacherous "mountaineers" for the failure of the rebellion until his dying day.

He died in Rome in 1788, a fat, shambling, bloated and bitter alcoholic.

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