Some information on this website may be out-of-date following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Prince Charles Edward

'Bonnie Prince Charlie' was born in the Muti Palace in Rome in 1720 amidst great rejoicing, for Jacobites throughout Western Europe looked to him to win back the British throne for the Stuarts. 

In 1743 the French decided to send an invading force to Britain, led by 'the Young Pretender', as his enemies called him. The scheme fell through due to stormy weather. The Prince decided to go ahead without French assistance, and he set out for Scotland with only a handful of companions, landing in the Outer Hebrides in July 1745 O.S. 

By sheer force of personality he won over the Highland chiefs, captured Perth and declared the Union dissolved. He gathered an army of 5,000, marched to Edinburgh, and defeated a Hanoverian force led by Sir John Cope at the Battle of Prestonpans, near Edinburgh in September.

His Highland supporters would have been content with that success, but Charles was determined to invade England, and his army marched reluctantly south. 

They captured Carlisle but, by the time they reached Derby, his Lieutenant-General Lord George Murray and the other commanders were convinced that they could never take London, for George II had not just one army but three ranged against them. Furthermore, there was a total lack of support for Charles amongst the English, for example Manchester provided only a few hundred recruits of poor quality. 

Much against the Prince's will, his supporters turned back at Derby. Pursued by the government forces, they won a victory at Falkirk but were finally crushed at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

Although the Jacobite movement persisted for more than 50 years, the cause was defeated once and for all. The remaining rebels were hunted down, while the power of the clan chiefs was diminished by an Act abolishing heritable jurisdictions.

Charles escaped from the field and after months of being hunted through the Western Highlands, escaped to France, to spend the rest of his life in exile, sinking ever deeper into depression and alcoholism. His late marriage in 1772 to the German Louise of Stolberg was childless and she eventually left him. 

After his father's death, he styled himself 'Charles III', but by then all hope of a Jacobite restoration had gone. He died in Rome in 1788.