BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE: A Biography of Prince Charles Edward Stuart by Susan Maclean Kybett

BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE: A Biography of Prince Charles Edward Stuart

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A revisionist biography of the grandson of James II, the last Stuart King of England. Bonnie Prince Charlie has always been a shadowy character, overromanticized by Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. But with the cooperation of the Royal Family, Kybett had access to the great mass of Stuart Papers locked up at Windsor Castle--and after 15 years of research, she has reversed her position of sympathy for Charlie and now offers a book that holds the Bonnie Prince in some disdain. Midway through her research, Kybett discerned that both Charles and his father were consummate liars. Here, she chronicles several points at which her account diverges from traditional history. First, ""James III"" has always been portrayed as a ""loving father and a benign, naive man who would hive made a gracious king had he been restored."" Kybett exposes him as an ""adept schemer in the European political arena."" Second, contrary to long-held belief that James lived to win back the throne, Kybett asserts that he had long given up that notion. Third, it has been a dictum of history that Louis XV of France planned and financially supported the Scottish rebellion of 1745-46. In reality, the author demonstrates conclusively, Charles' arrival in France was a great embarrassment to Louis, and the ill-fated revolution was financed by a ragtag group of Jacobites across the continent. Finally, Kybett quashes the traditional picture of James and his sons, Charles and Henry, as a loving, secure family. Kybett's revisionist stance owes a lot to her discovery of the missives of colonel Daniel O'Brien, who apparently was James' main Paris agent, and who often wrote up to 60 pages of letters per week--a veritable treasure-trove, heretofore overlooked because he wrote in awful French that was heavily coded. After almost a century, here is a book that may finally unseat Andrew Lang's Prince Charles Edward as definitive.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Dodd, Mead