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BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE

In Britain, Queen Anne died in 1714. As she had no surviving children, the Act of Settlement passed in 1701 said that the throne should go to the Protestant heirs of James I. Her cousin George of Hanover (a German state) became the new king. He was the great-grandson of James I and a Protestant, but he was a foreigner. Some people felt that the Scot, James Stuart, had a better claim. He was also a great-grandson of James I and the son of James II, but he was a Catholic. Also many Scots were unhappy because their nation had been joined with England to form a 'United Kingdom' in 1707.

The Jacobites, who supported James Stuart, invaded England in 1715 and were defeated in November at Preston, Lancashire. James Stuart arrived in Scotland from France in December, but support for him was weakening so, early in 1716, James fled back to France.

In 1745, James' son, Charles Edward led another rising. After a series of successful battles in Scotland 'Bonnie Prince Charlie', as he was called by his followers, marched into England. 'The Young Pretender' reached Derby but English supporters did not join him as he had hoped and he retreated to Scotland. Early in 1746 this episode, known as the Forty-Five, ended as the Jacobites were defeated at the battle of Culloden. With most of his followers dead, Bonnie Prince Charlie fled north. After a few months he managed to escape disguised as Flora Macdonald's maid. He then returned to France.

The English reprisals were severe. A lot of the Highland chiefs were executed. The clansmen were disarmed and, until 1782, they were forbidden to wear their clan tartans or play the bagpipes.

Charles's daring attempt to reclaim the throne for the Stuarts has inspired countless legends, poems and ballads, including the 'Skye Boat Song'.



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