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Bonnie Prince Charlie

Bonnie Prince Charlie (December 31, 1720 - January 31, 1788) is the name by which Prince Charles Edward Louis Philip Casimir Stuart (the French spelling for the English name Stewart) is most commonly known. Charles was the son of Maria Clementina Sobieski (1702 - 1735), and Prince James Francis Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender. Prince Charlie was therefore referred to as The Young Pretender.He claimed the throne of Great Britain as King Charles III from January 1, 1766 till January 31, 1788.

Despite his strong associations with Scotland, Charles was born in Rome, Italy, and brought up there while his father remained in exile, having failed to regain the throne of the United Kingdom from which his own father, King James II of England, had been deposed in 1688. In 1743, he fought at the Battle of Dettingen, where the British army was led by his chief rival, King George II. Two years later, he attempted an invasion of Britain on behalf of his father (who was still alive), with French military aid, and landed at Eriskay on July 23, 1745.

Being a Catholic, Charles was assured of a warm welcome from the Highland clans, and had soon raised a large enough force to enable him to march on Edinburgh, which quickly surrendered. In September, he defeated loyalist forces at the Battle of Prestonpans, and by November, he was marching south at the head of 6,500 men. Having taken Carlisle and progressed as far as Derby, he suddenly found himself beset by conflicting advice, and decided to turn back. Now he was pursued by the king's son, the Duke of Cumberland, who caught up with him at the Battle of Culloden on January 17, 1746, and inflicted a heavy defeat on the half-starved and demoralised Jacobite army.

Bonnie Prince Charlie's subsequent flight has become the stuff of legend. Assisted by loyal supporters such as Flora Macdonald, he escaped the country, arriving back in France in September. The remainder of his life was spent in drunken idleness and debauchery. Although he married, in 1772, Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern, known as the Countess of Albany, the marriage was unsuccessful and childless.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart died in Rome, and is buried in Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. The death of his brother, Henry Benedict Stuart in 1807, ended the legitimate Stuart Royal line.

The prince did have a child, his bastard daughter, Charlotte, Duchess of Albany, his child by Clementina Walkinshaw (later known as Countess von Alberstrof). She was legitimated in 1783 by an Act of Legitimation signed in Paris by her father. However, this made no difference to her actual status as a bastard, since her father never married her mother. Therefore, she was never a legitimate heir to her father. Charlotte, who died in 1789, never married but she did have two daughters and a son by her lover, Prince Ferdinand de Rohan. Raised in strictest secrecy, their identities concealed by a variety of alias and ruses, all three children were thought to have left no issue, but it has been discovered that one of them did.

According to a well-reviewed and scrupulously footnoted book, "The Stuart's Last Secret" by Peter Pininski (Tuckwell Press, 2001), Charlotte's younger daughter, Marie Victoire de Rohan, demoiselle de Thorigny, married Paul Anthony Louis Bertrand de Nikorowicz, a Polish nobleman. Their granddaughter, Julia de Nikorowicz, married Count Leonard Pininski and became author Peter Pininski's great-great-grandmother.