Son of King
Prince Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788) was born and died in Italy. He arrived in Scotland on July 23, 1745, disembarking on the island of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides, later named Prince’s Beach in his honor. He left Scotland forever on September 20, 1746.
As a young man, Charlie was a handsome, athletic, well-educated polyglot – fluent in Italian, French, English and German. He was a great shooter and rode a horse. His charisma and beauty made him especially popular among women.
He was the son of Jakub Stuart and Maria Klementyna Sobieska, grandson of the deposed Jakub II, king of Scotland, England and Ireland, and great-grandson of Jan III Sobieski, king of Poland. As the grandson of the last Catholic King of the Stuarts, he believed he must regain the British throne from the Protestant Hanoverians.
In 1745, Charles Edward launched an uprising in Scotland, which ended in a bloody defeat. The prince managed to escape disguised as a woman as the maid of “Betty Burke”. His escape became the basis for a romantic Scottish legend and a popular folk song (still sung today as a lullaby) entitled “Skye Boat Song”. It tells about “the boy who was born to be king” who sailed to Skye from where, like King Arthur before, “will come again”.
Prince Charles Edward Stuart first became “Bonnie Prince Charlie” on Tuesday, September 17, 1745, the day he arrived in Edinburgh. He entered the Palace of Holyroodhouse, causing the admiration and excitement of the gathered crowd. Tall and handsome, on a magnificent horse, he wore a short checkered coat, red velvet pants, and army boots. The crowd cheered as elegant ladies tossed lace handkerchiefs onto the street in front of him. This vision of Bonnie Prince Charlie remains in the memory of the Scots, for whom he is a cult figure and a romantic hero.
Though he never returned to Scotland after his escape, curiously enough, he made a secret visit to London, England in 1750, in an attempt to reestablish his claim to the throne. He died in Rome in 1788. At the age of 67. He was buried with his father, mother, and younger brother in St. Peter in the Vatican. Almost 300 years after the failed rebellion and escape by the sea, Bonnie Prince Charlie is still a much-loved and highly regarded figure in Scottish history.
Drambuie (a blend of herbs, spices, Scottish honey and single malt whisky from Highland and Speyside) was invented in 1740 by Bonnie Prince Charlie as a drink to celebrate his victory.
In Scotland, supporting the exiled Stuarts was treason, so the Jacobites instituted coded phrases, rituals, and symbols to confirm their loyalty. The most famous was the toast “to the king of the water” – during which the drinker raised his glass over the bowl of water in reference to the pretender to the throne.
After 1746, Charlie’s followers prepared a tray, placed it on the table, and placed a cylinder on top of it. In the reflection of the cylinder, you could see the likeness of Prince Charlie, for which they then drank. If they were in danger of being discovered, the prince’s face could be quickly dismantled.