Bonnie Prince Charlie, commonly known as Charles Edward Stuart, remained in exile until instigating the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Charles was born in the Palazzo Muti in Rome, Italy, where Pope Clement XI had given his father a palace. He grew up in Rome and Bologna for virtually his entire youth. His boyhood in Rome was a privileged one, as he was raised Catholic in a loving but acrimonious family. His family took great satisfaction in being the last legal heirs of the Stuart House of Stuart, and they firmly believed in the Divine Right of Kings. Nevertheless, the Stuarts’ desire to reclaim the thrones of England and Scotland was a continual topic of conversation in the family, as seen by his father’s sometimes melancholy and hostile demeanour.
Charles Edward witnessed the French and Spanish siege of Gaeta in 1734, which was his first encounter with the art of battle. Charles’ father named him Prince Regent in December 1743, giving him the authority to act in his place. In 1744, his father was able to regain the favour of the French government, and Charles Edward sailed to France alone to head a French army.
Prince Charles Edward Stuart, AKA Bonnie Prince Charlie, leads the Jacobite forces against Great Britain in Starz’s historical series ‘Outlander,’ in order to reclaim the British crown for his father, James Francis Edward Stuart. Unfortunately, Charlie’s ambitions to invade Great Britain failed in the Battle of Culloden, in which Jamie is seriously wounded.
Charlie’s trip from Scotland to France, evading British soldiers, is depicted in the fifth episode of Season 6. The intriguing Charlie plot from the sixth season must-have piqued people’s interest in his later years and death. So, here’s all you’ll need to know about it!
In Real Life, How Did Bonnie Prince Charlie Pass Away?
On January 31, 1788, in Palazzo Muti in Rome, Bonnie Prince Charlie died of a stroke. His death date is contested, as some sources claim he died on January 30, 1788, but the date was moved to the following day to avoid declaring him dead on the same day as his great-grandfather, King Charles I.
At the time of his death, Charlie was 67 years old, and he was buried in Frascati Cathedral near Rome, where his brother Henry Benedict Stuart was a bishop. Charlie’s remains, with the exception of his heart, were transported to St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican after Henry’s death.
Charlie reportedly became alcoholic after the Battle of Culloden and the failure to resurrect the Jacobite cause against the British. According to many sources, while residing in France, Charlie had multiple encounters with a variety of women. Charlie moved in with his mistress Clementina Walkinshaw in 1752.
Clementina, on the other hand, went to a convent in 1760, allegedly due to the prince’s “continuous ill treatment.” Charlie married Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern, a 20-year-old princess, in 1772, in a marriage marred by the prince’s drunkenness and aggressive behaviour. Louise divorced Charlie in 1780, terminating their marriage.
“The prince’s health deteriorated as his wine consumption climbed to six bottles a day, in addition to the regular bottle or two of brandy. […] Roderick Graham, author of the biography ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie: Truth Or Lies,’ said via The Scotsman, “He was also intensely jealous of his young wife, and servants reported beatings and screaming quarrels.”
“He irrationally assaulted Louise, failed to rape her, and then strangled her, ripping chunks of her hair off in the process,” he continued.
Bonnie Prince Charlie had been unwell since 1783 and was cared for by his daughter till his death. Charlie did not return to Scotland once the Stuart cause was defeated. Instead, he returned to Rome, his birthplace, after his stint in France.
He lived at Palazzo Muti, the exiled Stuart dynasty’s Rome palace, and died there in 1788 after years of ill health. Despite the fact that his insurrection against Britain was unsuccessful, Charlie became a famous and remembered figure in Scottish history.
To honour him, his father, and his brother, the Royal Stuarts Monument was erected in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.