Charles Edward Louis Philip Casimir Stuart was born in Rome, Italy on December 31, 1720. Known as ‘the Young Pretender’, as in pretender to the English throne, he was, technically, not a pretender, as his father was the eldest son of the English king, James the Second. According to the laws of primogeniture then in play, his father, another James, should have become James the Third. The reason he didn’t was that the Roman Catholic James the Second had been deposed and replaced by his Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange. After the reign of Queen Mary (Bloody Mary) and the Catholic/Protestant clashes of subsequent reigns, the English weren’t hot keen on Catholicism, and took exception to Jimmy’s efforts to bring them back to what he believed to be the true religion. Since James Not-the-Third, was also Roman Catholic, and likely to do the same, the government passed over his ‘rights’ and stuck with William and Mary.
Somewhat miffed, James Not-the-Third made some bids for the throne, but despite having the support of the Pope, most English Catholics, some English Protestants, and a good number of Scottish clans, he met with no success. When he passed on, son Charles went on pressing the family claim. The Scots took to him even more than they had to his father, and considered him their ain ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, even though he had been born far from Scotland, knew very little, if any, Gaelic, and had a hard-drinking, ugly-tempered, womanizing nature that was far from ‘bonnie’. Though he made more impressive attempts than his father, Charlie never got any closer to gaining the throne than Daddy had, and died as he had been born – in exile.
For a more in-depth explanation of why the Stuarts lost the throne in the first place, visit: