There’s still an air of romance about the idea of Bonnie Prince Charlie, “the prince over the water”, and his plans to recapture the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland from Hanoverian incomers, but the reality is far more forlorn. There may be Kenneth McKellar singing Will Ye No Come Back Again, but there’s also, as Dr Clare Jackson succinctly puts it, “a slow descent into drink, debauchery and political obscurity” until Charles Edward Stuart’s death in Rome in 1788.
Yet prior to the terrible defeat at Culloden in 1746, the Young Pretender (who only ever spent 11 months in Scotland) and his Highland forces actually did present a considerable threat to the British crown. That they failed was certainly not down to will, but a more hard-edged lack of support, both financial and political, on the ground in Britain.
Dr. Clare Jackson reveals how the Jacobite campaign took place on a European-wide stage, rather than purely Scottish, and inspired a nexus of international intrigue and covert plots. Jackson explores why so many law-abiding Scots and English were prepared to support the Catholic Stuarts and how the new Protestant Hanoverian regime hung by a thread, as George I and II struggled to impose their authority on frequently hostile and anti-European subjects.