Charles Edward Stuart: A Tragedy in Many Acts
Beginning with the accession of James I to the Scottish throne in 1406, the Royal House of Stuart was plagued by incredible, almost supernatural, misfortune. From the battle of Flodden field, through the executions of Mary, Queen of Scots and Charles I, King of England, to the exile of James II in 1688 during the Glorious Revolution, the tragedy of the Stuarts seemed to be re-enacted by each generation. But with the birth in 1720 of Charles Edward Stuart--the "Bonnie Prince Charlie" of romantic legend--the final act had at last begun.
In this widely acclaimed biography--the first based on comprehensive research among previously untapped sources--Frank McLynn brings to life the elusive and enigmatic "Prince in the Heather." McLynn's ten years of work in such diverse libraries as the Vatican Archives in Rome, majors collections in the United States, France, and Spain, and the Royal archives in Windsor (where the Stuart Papers are housed) has enabled him to present an entirely new interpretation of the life and career of Charles Edward Stuart. Following the Prince from his birth and unhappy childhood in the Stuart's exiled court in Rome, through his rise as the charismatic "Young Pretender" and the crushing defeat at Culloden, to his exile and death in Italy, McLynn illuminates episodes in the Prince's life hitherto obscure or deliberately concealed. What emerges is truly the stuff of classical tragedy--a leader of promise brought down by a combination of ill-luck and his own fatally flawed character.
Potentially the Stuart family's best hope to regain the throne of England, Bonnie Prince Charlie inherited the cunning and seductive charm of Charles II, the stubborn bravery of James II, and the rugged physique of his Scots ancestors. But, increasingly dominated by self destructive character traits and the complex politics of his age, he ended his life a sad, drunken figure, dissolute and physically wasted. When his death came on 31 January 1788--the anniversary of the execution of his great grandfather Charles I--the tragedy had come full circle.
Filled with the excitement of adventure and brimming with tales too improbable for fiction, Charles Edward Stuart is a fascinating biography of a remarkable man.
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