Books / Character Development / Stuarts / Sullatober Dalton / Uncategorized

Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Relief

I had a conversation with someone who was giving a talk on Jacobite uprisings and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s amazing escape. When I suggested maybe the British Navy didn’t want to catch him and were relieved when he was spirited away, it was met with doubt but, for me, it is the most likely solution. What would the government have done with him as a prisoner? The son of the ‘rightful’ king, the Price of Wales in prison! What wonderful propaganda!

Having a Stuart around the place had proved problematic in the past; when Good Queen Bess imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots, she became the centre of ongoing plots against Elizabeth’s life; when Charles II came back he set about chopping the heads off anyone who had been involved, even peripherally, in doing the same to his father. He had gone so far as to send assassins to deal with those who had absconded to the continent, so, while those in Westminster, with money to skip off to America, might be blasé about it, those further down the tree would not be so sanguine.

At that time the Royal Navy had possibly two hundred, maybe two hundred and fifty ships, including sloops and other shallow draught vessels, but they didn’t send a flotilla of inshore boats, they sent two frigates, only two, unable, among the shallow tidal water around the many islands, to do more than harass the fugitive until his continental friends could succeed in bringing him relief and ‘rescuing’ him – which needed several attempts.

What happened then? Charlie went back to France, to be provided with a ‘dole’ by the French treasury, to claim, as the Prince of Wales, the same privileges of rank as the Dauphine, look down his nose at the Duke of Normandy and generally sicken the French court with his haughtiness – as the Royal Navy had hoped.

The question that remains is – Was Flora McDonald in Westminster’s pay? For the times, she was treated leniently afterwards.