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Prince Charles Edward Stuart

Charles Edward Stuart, aka Bonnie Prince Charlie was a grandson of King James VII who was driven out of Britain in 1688 because of his support of the Catholic faith. Parliament had originally wanted James' daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange from the Netherlands, to act as regents until James' newly born son, James Francis Stuart (Charles' father), reached his majority (and had been raised in the Protestant faith). But William was unhappy with this arrangement and insisted on having the crown along with his wife. Parliament agreed, thus sowing the seeds of the subsequent Jacobite Uprising (Jacobite came from the Latin word for James - Jacobus).

Of course, King James VII tried to regain his throne. But on July 12, 1690, William defeated James in the Battle of the Boyne, Ireland. King James VII died in exile in 1701. There were further Jacobite insurrections in Scotland, particularly in 1715 when James Francis Stuart (nicknamed "The Old Pretender") landed in Scotland, some months after the Earl of Mar had conducted an ineffectual campaign. James had dithered in France about when to leave for Scotland and it was mid-winter by the time he arrived at Aberdeen on 22 December. And he did not bring the expected French military forces or any money. After two months he was advised to withdraw and left once more for France, never to return.

William and Mary died childless and her sister and successor Queen Anne also died without issue. Parliament then decided in 1714 (by a majority of one) to ask George, the Elector of Hanover in Germany to become king of Britain. George's mother was Sophia, a grand-daughter of King James VI. Even so, the rules of secession gave James Francis Stuart a stronger right to the throne, a point not lost on the Jacobite supporters, most of whom were in Scotland.

In 1718, James Francis Stuart married Princess Clementina Maria Sobieski of Poland who was one of the wealthiest females of royal birth in Europe. Their son, Prince Charles Edward Louis John Casimir Silvester Maria Stuart was born in Rome on 31 December 1720. The Pope gave his personal blessing to the infant.

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