Bonnie Prince Charlie's Attempt to Win the British Throne for his Father

Bonnie Prince Charlie's Attempt to Win the British Throne for his Father

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Bonnie Prince Charlie's Attempt to Win the British Throne for his Father

Charles Edward Stuart, grandson of James II and son of James the old
pretender, was born in Rome in 1720 and created Prince of Wales at
birth. His father had always been desperate for the British throne,
and had already tried and failed many times to win the throne (he was
Catholic and the government would only accept a ruler if he was
Protestant). Charles had been brought up with his father always hoping
and longing for the throne, so in 1745 he decided to do something
about it.

At first, Charlie thought he would have help from the French king,
Louis, as it had been promised to him. At the time, France and England
were at war, so the French were eager to help on their enemy's
downfall. Prepared to meet the French in Inverness-shire, he set off
to the highlands of Scotland with only seven men, and on the
nineteenth of August raised his father's standard there. At this
point, Louis ducked out of the plan (by this time, the war with
England was nearly over, so he didn't want to stir up any more
trouble). This left Charlie with no choice but to gather as many men
from the highlands as he could, but thankfully he was still widely
supported there; plus he had managed to persuade a few clan - chiefs
to support him aswell, so within a week had managed to gather 2000
men! His final army was made up of 4000 men, and they began marching

The first marched to Edinburgh, but the highlanders and lowlanders
didn't get on very well, so Charlie didn't get many men. However, the
lowlanders did supply him with 2000 targets and 500 tents.

The then marched to Prestonpans, and there won an easy victory,
meaning that he now had most of Scotland under his control. His
Generals did advise that he stopped there, and he could well have, but
Charlie wanted more, so he and his army marched down through England.

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At first he was quite successful, and it looked like his decision may
have been correct. He and his army continued to march south, but it
was December and very cold and wet. He and his men were getting tired
and miserable (many did not even have proper shoes!), so when they
reached Derby they stopped to rest.

Meanwhile, the war in France was nearly over, so George II (the
British king at the time) decided to send back some of his men from
France. The main army was made up of well-trained and experienced
soldiers, and was led by the Duke of Cumberland. George had heard
about what Charlie was trying to do, and decided to put a stop to it!

Charlie had also heard of this, and was getting rather worried. He
asked his Generals their advice, and they said he should retreat up to
the highlands. There people would protect him and help him. So Charlie
followed their advice, and began marching north the same way he had
come, with Cumberland and his army following them all the way. Charlie
and his army got back to Falkirk, where they met another, smaller
government army and defeated them. The army retreated to the
highlands, and many men went home and did not return.

In 1746, Cumberland's army finally caught up with them and they fought
at Culloden. The Jacobites (Charlie's army) was outnumbered 9000 to
5000, and the British were much better trained and equipped than him
aswell, with powerful cannon and catapults. As you may have guessed,
Charlie lost - badly.

The remains of his army scattered, and Charlie (with a £30,000 price
on his head) wandered throughout the highlands disguised as a peasant
man. Wanted posters were put up all over Scotland, but no one betrayed
him to the government. He was hidden by his supporters, and finally a
woman called Flora Macdonald finally disguised him as a washerwoman
and rowed him 20 miles to the Isle of Skye; from where he was taken to

He lived out his days in Italy in 1766, until he died in 1788.

I can think of many reasons why Charlie and his army lost. I think
that in the first place, he and his army should have stayed in
Scotland, where his father could have ruled safely. Going into England
was a big mistake, and I am sure James would have been content with

Raising his standard without knowing Louis was going to help was also
a mistake, as he had to make up a makeshift army. He could have
prepared long beforehand and done a lot better! This led to him being
badly outnumbered at Culloden, and several sources tell us that the
army was deprived of food 3 days beforehand. It also seems that
Charlie gave away all the good positions on the battlefield! Overall,
I think that if Charlie had put a little more thought into his plan,
he could have won easily.
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