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Episode
188

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Aug 27, 2021
History
-
29
minutes
Scotland
18th Century
Great Britain
European history
UK politics
France
War
Revolution

In 1745 Charles Stuart arrived on the west coast of Scotland with the aim of taking back the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland.

It didn't go as planned and resulted in the last battle fought on British soil.

In this episode, we'll learn about his failed rebellion, and the legacy he has left on Great Britain.

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:12] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge and today is part three of our three-part series on Scottish Heroes. 

[00:00:28] In Part One we learned about the Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace, who fought bravely against the English but was brutally executed.

[00:00:39] Then, in part two, which was one of our member-only episodes, we learned about the tragic life of Mary Queen of Scots, the woman who inherited the Scottish throne when she was just 6 days old, and whose life was filled with betrayal, suspicion, and evil men.

[00:01:00] And to cap it all off, to finish this mini-series, we are going to talk about Charles Stuart, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. 

[00:01:11] To some, he is a Scottish legend, a romantic hero who fought bravely to take back what was rightly his.

[00:01:20] To others, he was a coward and a fool, who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of honest men.

[00:01:28] So, in today’s episode, we will explore a fascinating range of themes relating to the life of Bonnie Prince Charlie: rebellion, religion, courage, nationalism, romance, imperialism, the power of myth and defeat

[00:01:46] Before we get right into all that though, I want to remind you that you can become a member of Leonardo English and follow along with the subtitles, the transcript and its key vocabulary over on the website, which is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:02:01] Membership of Leonardo English gives you access to all of our learning materials, all of our bonus episodes, so that’s more than 190 different episodes now including part two of this mini-series, as well as two new ones every week, plus access to our awesome private community where we do live events, challenges, and much, much more.

[00:02:24] So, if that's of interest - and I can't see a reason why it wouldn't be - then the place to go to is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:02:35] OK then, Bonnie Prince Charlie.

[00:02:39] This episode will follow a similar structure to the others in this mini-series: a setting of the scene in Scotland and England at the time; an account of the protagonist‘s life; a section on the conflict with England and finally something on how these historical events have influenced Scottish nationalism and the whole mythology of Scotland. 

[00:03:03] And of course, a few strange facts to end with. 

[00:03:08] Now, in order for you to connect a little bit more fully with the situation that Bonnie Prince Charlie found himself in as a 24 year old in the summer of 1745, I want you to try to put yourself in his place. 

[00:03:24] Bonnie Prince Charlie’s real name was Charles Edward Stuart. 

[00:03:28] He was born in Rome, in 1720, and was the heir to the exiled Stuart family.

[00:03:37] Now, if you have listened to the episode on Mary Queen of Scots, you will remember that her name was also Stuart. 

[00:03:45] Bonnie Prince Charlie was the great, great, great grand-nephew of Mary Queen of Scots, she was his ancestor

[00:03:53] But while the bloodline had passed to Bonnie Prince Charlie, the throne had not.

[00:04:00] The Catholic Stuart family had lost the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1688, and ever since they had been living in exile

[00:04:12] On the throne of the Kingdom of England, Scotland and Ireland was George II, of the Hanoverian dynasty. 

[00:04:20] Crucially, the Hanovers were Protestants, the Stuarts were Catholics.

[00:04:26] This backstory is all the more important because from a young age, Bonnie Prince Charlie had been brought up to believe that he was the rightful king. 

[00:04:38] The Protestants had stolen the throne from his family, executed several of his family members, and installed one of their own as King.

[00:04:49] As a result, the Stuarts had been living in exile, split between France and what’s now Italy.

[00:04:57] Bonnie Prince Charlie, also known as the Young Pretender, was the idealistic, stylish, energetic and brave inheritor or heir of all this history of rejection, execution and exile.

[00:05:14] I should explain that in this context the title “Pretender” does not mean someone who acts or says that they are something that they are not, but it means someone who says that they have a right to a throne or crown – in other words, they feel that they are the legitimate monarch who should be the ruler. 

[00:05:35] For the French, Italian, or Spanish speakers, “pretend” in English is normally a false friend, but in this case it means what the similar word in your language means.

[00:05:47] So, Bonnie Prince Charlie has spent the first 24 years of his life in France and Italy. 

[00:05:54] He has never even set foot on British soil, he has never been to the British isles.

[00:06:01] Yet there is this burning desire to return, to take what he believes to be rightfully his.

[00:06:09] As well as being made aware of his legal right to the British throne, Charles was told of the divine basis for this right: known as the Divine Right of Kings, this was a key element of the Stuarts’ belief that they should be rulers with absolute power.

[00:06:28] He is remembered as a bit of a dreamer, as a romantic, and you can imagine that for someone with this character it must be very easy to romanticise this land that you believe God has destined you to rule over.

[00:06:46] So, in July 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, our idealistic prince, sailed in a French ship to North West Scotland. He had been hoping that the French would support him in his fight, but he arrived in Scotland with no real support, without an army.

[00:07:08] In order to take back the throne, he would need to raise an army in Britain.

[00:07:13] There was still support for the Stuart cause in Britain, especially among the Catholic population. 

[00:07:21] But, support for the Stuarts, otherwise known as Jacobitism, was punishable by death, it was completely illegal.

[00:07:31] There had been previous small uprisings against the Hanoverians, all of which had been brutally crushed.

[00:07:39] And while the Hanoverians might have been considered heretical German invaders when they first took the throne, people in Britain had been living under their rule since 1714, and they hadn’t lived under a Catholic Stuart since 1688. 

[00:07:57] Life wasn’t that different for most people, and given the fact that there was a lot to lose by pledging support for Bonnie Prince Charlie, it was certainly not a given, it wasn’t definite, that he would find the support that he needed.

[00:08:13] Whether Bonnie Prince Charlie didn’t know this, or whether he was just a real optimist, or a combination of the two, we cannot be sure.

[00:08:23] He assumed that he would arrive in Scotland and be welcomed with open arms, he would raise a large army, be supported by the French King Louis XV, and he would march down to London and take back the throne.

[00:08:38] Unfortunately it didn’t pan out quite like that, that’s not exactly what happened.

[00:08:44] So, let’s follow our adventurous and and dashing young prince, who, having landed in the Scottish Hebridian island of Eriskay far off the Northwest coast, raises his flag at the West Coast village of Arisaig and calls on the Highland clan chiefs to bring their warriors from their respective clans to support him and the Jacobite cause

[00:09:11] Although these clan chiefs had a powerful hold on their members, they couldn’t force them to join Charles and his Jacobite army. 

[00:09:21] After all, this young foreigner was young, inexperienced and, disappointingly, had brought with him no army of professional French soldiers. 

[00:09:32] He had no land to lose, whereas for the Highland chiefs, rebellion against the British Crown could be a disaster: if they were unsuccessful in their revolt it would mean at best being thrown in prison and their lands taken away.

[00:09:51] At worst, they would suffer public execution as traitors. 

[00:09:56] However, Charles did just manage to raise enough of an army – but only around 3000 men – it was enough to march on Edinburgh and for Scotland’s capital city to fall under his command. 

[00:10:11] He did meet with early success when in September 1745, just east of Edinburgh, in fact very close to where I used to live, on a misty September morning his Highland warriors surprised and massacred the poorly prepared Government army at a town called Prestonpans. 

[00:10:33] This was a terrible humiliation for the Government forces and a massive boost for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army. 

[00:10:42] The stories that went ahead of this Highland army, with their tartan clothes, their bagpipes and often their long, red hair and scary beards, became the stuff of folklore: these soldiers, so people said, were invincible and terrifying

[00:11:02] The next phase of the military campaign involved a quick march south when the Jacobite army met with no significant resistance. 

[00:11:13] They moved through the country going through areas where support for the Jacobite cause was strongest, eventually reaching the English town of Derby, which is only about 200km north of London.

[00:11:29] At Derby, there was a discussion between Charles and his senior commanders as to whether they should proceed to London.

[00:11:37] For Charles, London was the big prize. He didn’t only believe he was the rightful king of Scotland, he believed he was the King of Britain. 

[00:11:48] And you couldn’t be King of Britain without taking its capital and largest and most important city.

[00:11:56] Charles was all for gambling everything and carrying on, pushing south to the capital. 

[00:12:03] However, his commanders, above all the experienced general Lord George Murray, were unwilling and felt that, with no guaranteed French military aid, they were likely to fail. 

[00:12:17] So, the army of around 5,000 men turned around and went back up north. 

[00:12:24] Charles was reportedly someone who did not like it when he did not get his own way; he had, after all, lived his life as a prince, and was presumably not used to being told that something wasn’t possible.

[00:12:39] As the army marched north he was in a terrible mood, and his relationship with the experienced general Murray never recovered. 

[00:12:48] It wasn’t only Bonnie Prince Charlie that was in low spirits

[00:12:53] Most of the soldiers in the army weren’t professional soldiers, they were farmers, essentially. 

[00:12:59] They were not expecting to go on a long military campaign, and they needed to get back home for the harvest

[00:13:07] The soldiers also knew that the Government forces were determined to seek revenge for the humiliating defeat at Prestonpans, and to crush the Jacobite cause for good. 

[00:13:19] As a consequence, there was mass desertion as the army retraced its path back up north, many soldiers simply left the army.

[00:13:29] In the same way that it is interesting to speculate on what might have happened had William Wallace triumphed at Falkirk, or if Mary Queen of Scots hadn’t been executed by her cousin, so it is interesting to wonder what might have happened if Charles had continued and the Jacobite army had marched on London. 

[00:13:51] Ironically, there is some evidence to suggest that the French would have sent troops to support once Charles's army was close to London, and who knows what might have happened if they had.

[00:14:04] But, they didn’t. 

[00:14:05] Charles’ troops marched north, and headed to the north east of Scotland, where they had heard there was a growing group of soldiers supportive of the Jacobite cause. He thought that they could retreat to Scotland, join with this other army, and they would be in a better position from there.

[00:14:26] Before we move on to the decisive, tragic and historic events of the last battle on British soil, Culloden, it’s worth spending a minute reflecting on who was actually in these armies.

[00:14:40] It is very easy to simplify things and say that this was a story of Scotland vs. England, or Catholics vs. Protestants, it really isn’t as clear cut as this.

[00:14:53] The Jacobite army were mainly Catholics from the Highlands of Scotland, but also some Scottish Protestants and a small number of English and Irish. 

[00:15:05] And the Jacobite cause was supported by the French.

[00:15:09] The British government wasn’t just English, and it wasn’t just Protestant, although the majority would have been.

[00:15:17] The British Government forces also included many Scots, mainly from the Lowlands of Scotland, the southern part of Scotland, but there were also some soldiers from the Highlands, from the North.

[00:15:30] So, the armies were both mixed, and you would have had situations where men from nearby villages, perhaps even the same village, might have been fighting on different sides.

[00:15:44] Ironically perhaps and going against the myth of this being an imperialist battle between England and Scotland, it is thought that there were almost as many Scottish soldiers on the Government side as there were on the Jacobite side. 

[00:16:01] Turning to the numbers and make-up of the two armies now, Bonnie Prince Charlie‘s forces were virtually all foot soldiers, armed with some rifles, and around 7,000 in number. They had lost some men on the return north, but they had also gained some new men when they returned to Scotland.

[00:16:23] Crucially, they were not really professional soldiers.

[00:16:27] On the Government side, King George II’s youngest son, William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, was in charge.

[00:16:36] He had some 8000 soldiers under his command

[00:16:41] But his advantage wasn’t just in numbers.

[00:16:45] He had both artillery – so that’s cannons – and cavalry, so that's soldiers on horses.

[00:16:53] His army was also made up of well trained professionals. 

[00:16:58] So, as you can see, it was an unequal contest. 

[00:17:04] The disparity in the two armies‘ strength was all the greater because of what happened in the 24 hours before the battle. 

[00:17:14] Charles attempted a surprise night attack on the Government forces. 

[00:17:19] The government forces had been celebrating their commander's 25th birthday on that evening, 15th April, and each regiment had been given large amounts of brandy.

[00:17:32] Bonnie Prince Charlie thought that the government soldiers would be drunk, and so planned a surprise attack during the night.

[00:17:41] But, it was a long march to where the government camp was, about 13 kilometres, and the ground was muddy and wet. 

[00:17:52] The Jacobite army set off when the sun had gone down, and marched throughout the night. But by the time that the sun was coming up they still hadn’t arrived, and so turned back.

[00:18:06] By the time they arrived back at their camp, they were exhausted, they had been marching all night and many went to sleep.

[00:18:14] Remember, most of them had also been marching around Great Britain for most of the past 9 months, so they were tired anyway.

[00:18:23] It was later that day at around noon, around midday when the Jacobites were trying to sleep and gather some strength, that the Government forces arrived at an empty and muddy piece of ground, about 6km outside Inverness, in North East Scotland

[00:18:43] It was 16 April 1746 – a day best described by the atmospheric Scottish word as dreich, which means cold, wet and generally miserable. 

[00:18:57] It was on this day that the Battle of Culloden was fought, which was to be the last battle fought on British soil.

[00:19:06] The battle had a bizarre formality to it, with each side lining up, a mere 183 metres apart. 

[00:19:16] Each side stretched for about 300 meters. The entire battle would all be over in about 45 minutes. 

[00:19:25] It was a complete massacre

[00:19:28] The government forces started firing on the Jacobite army, and hundreds were killed before they could get anywhere near the government forces.

[00:19:38] After 10 or 15 minutes of being fired on, they charged at the government army, but the muddy nature of the ground and the fact that they had no protection from the bullets of the government soldiers, who could fire two bullets every minute, meant that many of them were slaughtered as they advanced across the bare ground; the few who arrived at the enemy lines were pushed back by bayonets and then cavalry

[00:20:10] At least 1250 Jacobites were killed and an equal number wounded. It was clear that there was no way for the army to progress against the significantly superior government forces.

[00:20:24] Bonnie Prince Charlie did manage to escape, as did around 5,000 of his 7,000 men. 

[00:20:32] In total the British government forces only had around 300 soldiers killed or wounded, 8 times less than the Jacobites.

[00:20:42] In the aftermath of this historic battle, which was so tragic for the doomed Jacobite cause, Charles would be blamed, both for putting his tired, hungry and demoralised soldiers into battle and for fighting on a battlefield which would work to the advantage or benefit of the Government forces and against the few advantages that the Jacobites had. 

[00:21:08] He would also be criticised for the way in which he directed his soldiers. 

[00:21:14] After all, it was the first battle that he had actually directed himself - he was not a soldier, he was a prince who had grown up in the luxurious ballrooms of Paris and Rome.

[00:21:28] Indeed, as Bonnie Prince Charlie ran away from the battle one of his generals, Lord Elcho, reportedly shouted after him “Run, you cowardly Italian”.

[00:21:40] After this very brief and one-sided battle, the Government commander, the Duke of Cumberland, was determined to teach the Jacobite rebels a lesson.

[00:21:51] They advanced to the Jacobite side and killed every wounded soldier they could find.

[00:21:58] For days afterwards the defeated soldiers and their families were hunted down and killed by the Government troops. 

[00:22:06] This would now be classified as ethnic cleansing, and was a permanent stain on the reputation of the Duke of Cumberland, earning him the title of “Butcher Cumberland”.

[00:22:20] And as for Bonnie Prince Charlie, he slipped off into the darkness, eventually escaping to France, and living the rest of his life in Paris, consumed by melancholy and alcoholism.

[00:22:34] We actually know relatively little about his later life, and, like a rock star who dies in their twenties, he remains in the popular imagination as an ever-youthful, romantic hero.

[00:22:48] Now, to the legacy of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and his impact on Scottish nationalism. 

[00:22:55] The events of the Jacobite rebellion are remembered by many as a battle of Scotland vs. England, but as I hope will now be clear, this is a great simplification of the truth.

[00:23:10] For several years after Culloden, Highlandism, so that’s doing things like wearing tartan and kilts, the Scottish skirts, was forbidden, and there was suppression of all things Scottish.

[00:23:25] But towards the end of the 18th century, as it was clear that there was no hope for a restoration of the Stuarts, this was repealed, it was removed and it quickly became fashionable. 

[00:23:40] The prolific Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott, featured the Jacobite rebellion and Bonnie Prince Charlie himself in a highly romanticised version in his novels. 

[00:23:52] When King George IV visited Edinburgh in 1822, Scott having organised the festivities, the King was fully dressed in Highland Dress. 

[00:24:03] Given his and his ancestors’ history with the highlanders, this was somewhat ironic

[00:24:11] And Queen Victoria was also so taken by the romanticism of the Scottish Highlands that she bought the Highland castle, Balmoral, which is now where the Royal Family spend their summers. 

[00:24:25] Highlandism is a powerful force now – especially in the USA and in Northern Europe. 

[00:24:32] Culloden provides a powerful, emotive myth: the image of a brave, noble Celtic people having their final heroic stand against the forces of English industrial imperialism catches the popular imagination.

[00:24:48] And Highlandism has come into fashion again thanks to the popular TV series, Outlander, which has the Jacobite rebellion at the centre of its story. 

[00:24:59] The myth is certainly powerful. 

[00:25:02] So, finally, as has become customary, here are some weird and wonderful facts about this story.

[00:25:10] Against all advice in 1750, Charles did finally reach London, but in disguise or incognito; during that visit, in order to try to convince his potential supporters that he could be trusted with the British throne, he became a Protestant, converting to Anglicanism. 

[00:25:31] Secondly, Charles‘s body is buried in two different places. His heart is buried in Frascati Cathedral, just outside Rome. The rest of his remains are in Saint Peter‘s Basilica, also in Rome. 

[00:25:45] Thirdly, Jacobite clubs, so groups of people which supported the restoration of the Stuarts, would meet in secret, and toast what they called “The King over the Water“. They would do this by passing the wine over a bowl of water in order to toast the health of the exiled Stuarts, who were over the water, over the English channel, in Europe. 

[00:26:11] And finally, a fact that might be of particular interest to the Spanish listeners, is that the Stuart family line is not extinct, it is not dead.

[00:26:21] Indeed, the senior heir of the Royal Stuarts is a man called Carlos Fritz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo, who is one of the most prominent of the Spanish nobility and one of the wealthiest people in Spain. 

[00:26:38] So, there you go, Bonnie Prince Charlie. 

[00:26:41] To some, he is a foolish pretender, a coward who ran away after his men were slaughtered.

[00:26:49] But to others he is a symbol of bravery, a man who devoted his life to a cause he believed in, and one who was struck down by an evil government.

[00:27:00] Whatever side you come down on, it is hard to deny that there is something almost Shakespearean about Bonnie Prince Charlie, the story of the prince who returns to take what he believes to be rightfully his, and is able to raise an army to support him, but, as with all of the other characters in this mini-series, discovers that trying your luck against the English army is a bold, but often disastrous move.

[00:27:31] OK then, that is it for today's episode on Bonnie Prince Charlie, and with it comes the end of this mini-series on Scottish Heroes.

[00:27:40] As a reminder, part one was on William Wallace, the original revolutionary who fought for Scottish independence and was executed as a reward.

[00:27:50] And in part two we learned about Mary Queen of Scots, a woman who was also killed more for what she was rather than what she did.

[00:28:00] I hope you enjoyed this mini-series, and that you found these stories of these three very different characters interesting, and it helped you understand a little bit more about the complicated relationship between Scotland and England.

[00:28:17] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode, and of this mini-series in general.

[00:28:23] For the members among you, you can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:28:34] And as a final reminder, if you enjoyed this episode, and you are wondering where to get all of our bonus episodes, plus the transcripts, subtitles, and key vocabulary, then the place to go to is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:28:48] I am on a mission to make Leonardo English the most interesting way of improving your English, and I would love for you to join me, and curious minds from 50 different countries, on that journey.

[00:29:01] The place you can go to for all of that is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:29:07] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:29:12] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]


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[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:12] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge and today is part three of our three-part series on Scottish Heroes. 

[00:00:28] In Part One we learned about the Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace, who fought bravely against the English but was brutally executed.

[00:00:39] Then, in part two, which was one of our member-only episodes, we learned about the tragic life of Mary Queen of Scots, the woman who inherited the Scottish throne when she was just 6 days old, and whose life was filled with betrayal, suspicion, and evil men.

[00:01:00] And to cap it all off, to finish this mini-series, we are going to talk about Charles Stuart, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. 

[00:01:11] To some, he is a Scottish legend, a romantic hero who fought bravely to take back what was rightly his.

[00:01:20] To others, he was a coward and a fool, who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of honest men.

[00:01:28] So, in today’s episode, we will explore a fascinating range of themes relating to the life of Bonnie Prince Charlie: rebellion, religion, courage, nationalism, romance, imperialism, the power of myth and defeat

[00:01:46] Before we get right into all that though, I want to remind you that you can become a member of Leonardo English and follow along with the subtitles, the transcript and its key vocabulary over on the website, which is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:02:01] Membership of Leonardo English gives you access to all of our learning materials, all of our bonus episodes, so that’s more than 190 different episodes now including part two of this mini-series, as well as two new ones every week, plus access to our awesome private community where we do live events, challenges, and much, much more.

[00:02:24] So, if that's of interest - and I can't see a reason why it wouldn't be - then the place to go to is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:02:35] OK then, Bonnie Prince Charlie.

[00:02:39] This episode will follow a similar structure to the others in this mini-series: a setting of the scene in Scotland and England at the time; an account of the protagonist‘s life; a section on the conflict with England and finally something on how these historical events have influenced Scottish nationalism and the whole mythology of Scotland. 

[00:03:03] And of course, a few strange facts to end with. 

[00:03:08] Now, in order for you to connect a little bit more fully with the situation that Bonnie Prince Charlie found himself in as a 24 year old in the summer of 1745, I want you to try to put yourself in his place. 

[00:03:24] Bonnie Prince Charlie’s real name was Charles Edward Stuart. 

[00:03:28] He was born in Rome, in 1720, and was the heir to the exiled Stuart family.

[00:03:37] Now, if you have listened to the episode on Mary Queen of Scots, you will remember that her name was also Stuart. 

[00:03:45] Bonnie Prince Charlie was the great, great, great grand-nephew of Mary Queen of Scots, she was his ancestor

[00:03:53] But while the bloodline had passed to Bonnie Prince Charlie, the throne had not.

[00:04:00] The Catholic Stuart family had lost the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1688, and ever since they had been living in exile

[00:04:12] On the throne of the Kingdom of England, Scotland and Ireland was George II, of the Hanoverian dynasty. 

[00:04:20] Crucially, the Hanovers were Protestants, the Stuarts were Catholics.

[00:04:26] This backstory is all the more important because from a young age, Bonnie Prince Charlie had been brought up to believe that he was the rightful king. 

[00:04:38] The Protestants had stolen the throne from his family, executed several of his family members, and installed one of their own as King.

[00:04:49] As a result, the Stuarts had been living in exile, split between France and what’s now Italy.

[00:04:57] Bonnie Prince Charlie, also known as the Young Pretender, was the idealistic, stylish, energetic and brave inheritor or heir of all this history of rejection, execution and exile.

[00:05:14] I should explain that in this context the title “Pretender” does not mean someone who acts or says that they are something that they are not, but it means someone who says that they have a right to a throne or crown – in other words, they feel that they are the legitimate monarch who should be the ruler. 

[00:05:35] For the French, Italian, or Spanish speakers, “pretend” in English is normally a false friend, but in this case it means what the similar word in your language means.

[00:05:47] So, Bonnie Prince Charlie has spent the first 24 years of his life in France and Italy. 

[00:05:54] He has never even set foot on British soil, he has never been to the British isles.

[00:06:01] Yet there is this burning desire to return, to take what he believes to be rightfully his.

[00:06:09] As well as being made aware of his legal right to the British throne, Charles was told of the divine basis for this right: known as the Divine Right of Kings, this was a key element of the Stuarts’ belief that they should be rulers with absolute power.

[00:06:28] He is remembered as a bit of a dreamer, as a romantic, and you can imagine that for someone with this character it must be very easy to romanticise this land that you believe God has destined you to rule over.

[00:06:46] So, in July 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, our idealistic prince, sailed in a French ship to North West Scotland. He had been hoping that the French would support him in his fight, but he arrived in Scotland with no real support, without an army.

[00:07:08] In order to take back the throne, he would need to raise an army in Britain.

[00:07:13] There was still support for the Stuart cause in Britain, especially among the Catholic population. 

[00:07:21] But, support for the Stuarts, otherwise known as Jacobitism, was punishable by death, it was completely illegal.

[00:07:31] There had been previous small uprisings against the Hanoverians, all of which had been brutally crushed.

[00:07:39] And while the Hanoverians might have been considered heretical German invaders when they first took the throne, people in Britain had been living under their rule since 1714, and they hadn’t lived under a Catholic Stuart since 1688. 

[00:07:57] Life wasn’t that different for most people, and given the fact that there was a lot to lose by pledging support for Bonnie Prince Charlie, it was certainly not a given, it wasn’t definite, that he would find the support that he needed.

[00:08:13] Whether Bonnie Prince Charlie didn’t know this, or whether he was just a real optimist, or a combination of the two, we cannot be sure.

[00:08:23] He assumed that he would arrive in Scotland and be welcomed with open arms, he would raise a large army, be supported by the French King Louis XV, and he would march down to London and take back the throne.

[00:08:38] Unfortunately it didn’t pan out quite like that, that’s not exactly what happened.

[00:08:44] So, let’s follow our adventurous and and dashing young prince, who, having landed in the Scottish Hebridian island of Eriskay far off the Northwest coast, raises his flag at the West Coast village of Arisaig and calls on the Highland clan chiefs to bring their warriors from their respective clans to support him and the Jacobite cause

[00:09:11] Although these clan chiefs had a powerful hold on their members, they couldn’t force them to join Charles and his Jacobite army. 

[00:09:21] After all, this young foreigner was young, inexperienced and, disappointingly, had brought with him no army of professional French soldiers. 

[00:09:32] He had no land to lose, whereas for the Highland chiefs, rebellion against the British Crown could be a disaster: if they were unsuccessful in their revolt it would mean at best being thrown in prison and their lands taken away.

[00:09:51] At worst, they would suffer public execution as traitors. 

[00:09:56] However, Charles did just manage to raise enough of an army – but only around 3000 men – it was enough to march on Edinburgh and for Scotland’s capital city to fall under his command. 

[00:10:11] He did meet with early success when in September 1745, just east of Edinburgh, in fact very close to where I used to live, on a misty September morning his Highland warriors surprised and massacred the poorly prepared Government army at a town called Prestonpans. 

[00:10:33] This was a terrible humiliation for the Government forces and a massive boost for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army. 

[00:10:42] The stories that went ahead of this Highland army, with their tartan clothes, their bagpipes and often their long, red hair and scary beards, became the stuff of folklore: these soldiers, so people said, were invincible and terrifying

[00:11:02] The next phase of the military campaign involved a quick march south when the Jacobite army met with no significant resistance. 

[00:11:13] They moved through the country going through areas where support for the Jacobite cause was strongest, eventually reaching the English town of Derby, which is only about 200km north of London.

[00:11:29] At Derby, there was a discussion between Charles and his senior commanders as to whether they should proceed to London.

[00:11:37] For Charles, London was the big prize. He didn’t only believe he was the rightful king of Scotland, he believed he was the King of Britain. 

[00:11:48] And you couldn’t be King of Britain without taking its capital and largest and most important city.

[00:11:56] Charles was all for gambling everything and carrying on, pushing south to the capital. 

[00:12:03] However, his commanders, above all the experienced general Lord George Murray, were unwilling and felt that, with no guaranteed French military aid, they were likely to fail. 

[00:12:17] So, the army of around 5,000 men turned around and went back up north. 

[00:12:24] Charles was reportedly someone who did not like it when he did not get his own way; he had, after all, lived his life as a prince, and was presumably not used to being told that something wasn’t possible.

[00:12:39] As the army marched north he was in a terrible mood, and his relationship with the experienced general Murray never recovered. 

[00:12:48] It wasn’t only Bonnie Prince Charlie that was in low spirits

[00:12:53] Most of the soldiers in the army weren’t professional soldiers, they were farmers, essentially. 

[00:12:59] They were not expecting to go on a long military campaign, and they needed to get back home for the harvest

[00:13:07] The soldiers also knew that the Government forces were determined to seek revenge for the humiliating defeat at Prestonpans, and to crush the Jacobite cause for good. 

[00:13:19] As a consequence, there was mass desertion as the army retraced its path back up north, many soldiers simply left the army.

[00:13:29] In the same way that it is interesting to speculate on what might have happened had William Wallace triumphed at Falkirk, or if Mary Queen of Scots hadn’t been executed by her cousin, so it is interesting to wonder what might have happened if Charles had continued and the Jacobite army had marched on London. 

[00:13:51] Ironically, there is some evidence to suggest that the French would have sent troops to support once Charles's army was close to London, and who knows what might have happened if they had.

[00:14:04] But, they didn’t. 

[00:14:05] Charles’ troops marched north, and headed to the north east of Scotland, where they had heard there was a growing group of soldiers supportive of the Jacobite cause. He thought that they could retreat to Scotland, join with this other army, and they would be in a better position from there.

[00:14:26] Before we move on to the decisive, tragic and historic events of the last battle on British soil, Culloden, it’s worth spending a minute reflecting on who was actually in these armies.

[00:14:40] It is very easy to simplify things and say that this was a story of Scotland vs. England, or Catholics vs. Protestants, it really isn’t as clear cut as this.

[00:14:53] The Jacobite army were mainly Catholics from the Highlands of Scotland, but also some Scottish Protestants and a small number of English and Irish. 

[00:15:05] And the Jacobite cause was supported by the French.

[00:15:09] The British government wasn’t just English, and it wasn’t just Protestant, although the majority would have been.

[00:15:17] The British Government forces also included many Scots, mainly from the Lowlands of Scotland, the southern part of Scotland, but there were also some soldiers from the Highlands, from the North.

[00:15:30] So, the armies were both mixed, and you would have had situations where men from nearby villages, perhaps even the same village, might have been fighting on different sides.

[00:15:44] Ironically perhaps and going against the myth of this being an imperialist battle between England and Scotland, it is thought that there were almost as many Scottish soldiers on the Government side as there were on the Jacobite side. 

[00:16:01] Turning to the numbers and make-up of the two armies now, Bonnie Prince Charlie‘s forces were virtually all foot soldiers, armed with some rifles, and around 7,000 in number. They had lost some men on the return north, but they had also gained some new men when they returned to Scotland.

[00:16:23] Crucially, they were not really professional soldiers.

[00:16:27] On the Government side, King George II’s youngest son, William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, was in charge.

[00:16:36] He had some 8000 soldiers under his command

[00:16:41] But his advantage wasn’t just in numbers.

[00:16:45] He had both artillery – so that’s cannons – and cavalry, so that's soldiers on horses.

[00:16:53] His army was also made up of well trained professionals. 

[00:16:58] So, as you can see, it was an unequal contest. 

[00:17:04] The disparity in the two armies‘ strength was all the greater because of what happened in the 24 hours before the battle. 

[00:17:14] Charles attempted a surprise night attack on the Government forces. 

[00:17:19] The government forces had been celebrating their commander's 25th birthday on that evening, 15th April, and each regiment had been given large amounts of brandy.

[00:17:32] Bonnie Prince Charlie thought that the government soldiers would be drunk, and so planned a surprise attack during the night.

[00:17:41] But, it was a long march to where the government camp was, about 13 kilometres, and the ground was muddy and wet. 

[00:17:52] The Jacobite army set off when the sun had gone down, and marched throughout the night. But by the time that the sun was coming up they still hadn’t arrived, and so turned back.

[00:18:06] By the time they arrived back at their camp, they were exhausted, they had been marching all night and many went to sleep.

[00:18:14] Remember, most of them had also been marching around Great Britain for most of the past 9 months, so they were tired anyway.

[00:18:23] It was later that day at around noon, around midday when the Jacobites were trying to sleep and gather some strength, that the Government forces arrived at an empty and muddy piece of ground, about 6km outside Inverness, in North East Scotland

[00:18:43] It was 16 April 1746 – a day best described by the atmospheric Scottish word as dreich, which means cold, wet and generally miserable. 

[00:18:57] It was on this day that the Battle of Culloden was fought, which was to be the last battle fought on British soil.

[00:19:06] The battle had a bizarre formality to it, with each side lining up, a mere 183 metres apart. 

[00:19:16] Each side stretched for about 300 meters. The entire battle would all be over in about 45 minutes. 

[00:19:25] It was a complete massacre

[00:19:28] The government forces started firing on the Jacobite army, and hundreds were killed before they could get anywhere near the government forces.

[00:19:38] After 10 or 15 minutes of being fired on, they charged at the government army, but the muddy nature of the ground and the fact that they had no protection from the bullets of the government soldiers, who could fire two bullets every minute, meant that many of them were slaughtered as they advanced across the bare ground; the few who arrived at the enemy lines were pushed back by bayonets and then cavalry

[00:20:10] At least 1250 Jacobites were killed and an equal number wounded. It was clear that there was no way for the army to progress against the significantly superior government forces.

[00:20:24] Bonnie Prince Charlie did manage to escape, as did around 5,000 of his 7,000 men. 

[00:20:32] In total the British government forces only had around 300 soldiers killed or wounded, 8 times less than the Jacobites.

[00:20:42] In the aftermath of this historic battle, which was so tragic for the doomed Jacobite cause, Charles would be blamed, both for putting his tired, hungry and demoralised soldiers into battle and for fighting on a battlefield which would work to the advantage or benefit of the Government forces and against the few advantages that the Jacobites had. 

[00:21:08] He would also be criticised for the way in which he directed his soldiers. 

[00:21:14] After all, it was the first battle that he had actually directed himself - he was not a soldier, he was a prince who had grown up in the luxurious ballrooms of Paris and Rome.

[00:21:28] Indeed, as Bonnie Prince Charlie ran away from the battle one of his generals, Lord Elcho, reportedly shouted after him “Run, you cowardly Italian”.

[00:21:40] After this very brief and one-sided battle, the Government commander, the Duke of Cumberland, was determined to teach the Jacobite rebels a lesson.

[00:21:51] They advanced to the Jacobite side and killed every wounded soldier they could find.

[00:21:58] For days afterwards the defeated soldiers and their families were hunted down and killed by the Government troops. 

[00:22:06] This would now be classified as ethnic cleansing, and was a permanent stain on the reputation of the Duke of Cumberland, earning him the title of “Butcher Cumberland”.

[00:22:20] And as for Bonnie Prince Charlie, he slipped off into the darkness, eventually escaping to France, and living the rest of his life in Paris, consumed by melancholy and alcoholism.

[00:22:34] We actually know relatively little about his later life, and, like a rock star who dies in their twenties, he remains in the popular imagination as an ever-youthful, romantic hero.

[00:22:48] Now, to the legacy of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and his impact on Scottish nationalism. 

[00:22:55] The events of the Jacobite rebellion are remembered by many as a battle of Scotland vs. England, but as I hope will now be clear, this is a great simplification of the truth.

[00:23:10] For several years after Culloden, Highlandism, so that’s doing things like wearing tartan and kilts, the Scottish skirts, was forbidden, and there was suppression of all things Scottish.

[00:23:25] But towards the end of the 18th century, as it was clear that there was no hope for a restoration of the Stuarts, this was repealed, it was removed and it quickly became fashionable. 

[00:23:40] The prolific Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott, featured the Jacobite rebellion and Bonnie Prince Charlie himself in a highly romanticised version in his novels. 

[00:23:52] When King George IV visited Edinburgh in 1822, Scott having organised the festivities, the King was fully dressed in Highland Dress. 

[00:24:03] Given his and his ancestors’ history with the highlanders, this was somewhat ironic

[00:24:11] And Queen Victoria was also so taken by the romanticism of the Scottish Highlands that she bought the Highland castle, Balmoral, which is now where the Royal Family spend their summers. 

[00:24:25] Highlandism is a powerful force now – especially in the USA and in Northern Europe. 

[00:24:32] Culloden provides a powerful, emotive myth: the image of a brave, noble Celtic people having their final heroic stand against the forces of English industrial imperialism catches the popular imagination.

[00:24:48] And Highlandism has come into fashion again thanks to the popular TV series, Outlander, which has the Jacobite rebellion at the centre of its story. 

[00:24:59] The myth is certainly powerful. 

[00:25:02] So, finally, as has become customary, here are some weird and wonderful facts about this story.

[00:25:10] Against all advice in 1750, Charles did finally reach London, but in disguise or incognito; during that visit, in order to try to convince his potential supporters that he could be trusted with the British throne, he became a Protestant, converting to Anglicanism. 

[00:25:31] Secondly, Charles‘s body is buried in two different places. His heart is buried in Frascati Cathedral, just outside Rome. The rest of his remains are in Saint Peter‘s Basilica, also in Rome. 

[00:25:45] Thirdly, Jacobite clubs, so groups of people which supported the restoration of the Stuarts, would meet in secret, and toast what they called “The King over the Water“. They would do this by passing the wine over a bowl of water in order to toast the health of the exiled Stuarts, who were over the water, over the English channel, in Europe. 

[00:26:11] And finally, a fact that might be of particular interest to the Spanish listeners, is that the Stuart family line is not extinct, it is not dead.

[00:26:21] Indeed, the senior heir of the Royal Stuarts is a man called Carlos Fritz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo, who is one of the most prominent of the Spanish nobility and one of the wealthiest people in Spain. 

[00:26:38] So, there you go, Bonnie Prince Charlie. 

[00:26:41] To some, he is a foolish pretender, a coward who ran away after his men were slaughtered.

[00:26:49] But to others he is a symbol of bravery, a man who devoted his life to a cause he believed in, and one who was struck down by an evil government.

[00:27:00] Whatever side you come down on, it is hard to deny that there is something almost Shakespearean about Bonnie Prince Charlie, the story of the prince who returns to take what he believes to be rightfully his, and is able to raise an army to support him, but, as with all of the other characters in this mini-series, discovers that trying your luck against the English army is a bold, but often disastrous move.

[00:27:31] OK then, that is it for today's episode on Bonnie Prince Charlie, and with it comes the end of this mini-series on Scottish Heroes.

[00:27:40] As a reminder, part one was on William Wallace, the original revolutionary who fought for Scottish independence and was executed as a reward.

[00:27:50] And in part two we learned about Mary Queen of Scots, a woman who was also killed more for what she was rather than what she did.

[00:28:00] I hope you enjoyed this mini-series, and that you found these stories of these three very different characters interesting, and it helped you understand a little bit more about the complicated relationship between Scotland and England.

[00:28:17] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode, and of this mini-series in general.

[00:28:23] For the members among you, you can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:28:34] And as a final reminder, if you enjoyed this episode, and you are wondering where to get all of our bonus episodes, plus the transcripts, subtitles, and key vocabulary, then the place to go to is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:28:48] I am on a mission to make Leonardo English the most interesting way of improving your English, and I would love for you to join me, and curious minds from 50 different countries, on that journey.

[00:29:01] The place you can go to for all of that is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:29:07] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:29:12] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]


[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:12] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:21] I'm Alastair Budge and today is part three of our three-part series on Scottish Heroes. 

[00:00:28] In Part One we learned about the Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace, who fought bravely against the English but was brutally executed.

[00:00:39] Then, in part two, which was one of our member-only episodes, we learned about the tragic life of Mary Queen of Scots, the woman who inherited the Scottish throne when she was just 6 days old, and whose life was filled with betrayal, suspicion, and evil men.

[00:01:00] And to cap it all off, to finish this mini-series, we are going to talk about Charles Stuart, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie. 

[00:01:11] To some, he is a Scottish legend, a romantic hero who fought bravely to take back what was rightly his.

[00:01:20] To others, he was a coward and a fool, who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of honest men.

[00:01:28] So, in today’s episode, we will explore a fascinating range of themes relating to the life of Bonnie Prince Charlie: rebellion, religion, courage, nationalism, romance, imperialism, the power of myth and defeat

[00:01:46] Before we get right into all that though, I want to remind you that you can become a member of Leonardo English and follow along with the subtitles, the transcript and its key vocabulary over on the website, which is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:02:01] Membership of Leonardo English gives you access to all of our learning materials, all of our bonus episodes, so that’s more than 190 different episodes now including part two of this mini-series, as well as two new ones every week, plus access to our awesome private community where we do live events, challenges, and much, much more.

[00:02:24] So, if that's of interest - and I can't see a reason why it wouldn't be - then the place to go to is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:02:35] OK then, Bonnie Prince Charlie.

[00:02:39] This episode will follow a similar structure to the others in this mini-series: a setting of the scene in Scotland and England at the time; an account of the protagonist‘s life; a section on the conflict with England and finally something on how these historical events have influenced Scottish nationalism and the whole mythology of Scotland. 

[00:03:03] And of course, a few strange facts to end with. 

[00:03:08] Now, in order for you to connect a little bit more fully with the situation that Bonnie Prince Charlie found himself in as a 24 year old in the summer of 1745, I want you to try to put yourself in his place. 

[00:03:24] Bonnie Prince Charlie’s real name was Charles Edward Stuart. 

[00:03:28] He was born in Rome, in 1720, and was the heir to the exiled Stuart family.

[00:03:37] Now, if you have listened to the episode on Mary Queen of Scots, you will remember that her name was also Stuart. 

[00:03:45] Bonnie Prince Charlie was the great, great, great grand-nephew of Mary Queen of Scots, she was his ancestor

[00:03:53] But while the bloodline had passed to Bonnie Prince Charlie, the throne had not.

[00:04:00] The Catholic Stuart family had lost the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1688, and ever since they had been living in exile

[00:04:12] On the throne of the Kingdom of England, Scotland and Ireland was George II, of the Hanoverian dynasty. 

[00:04:20] Crucially, the Hanovers were Protestants, the Stuarts were Catholics.

[00:04:26] This backstory is all the more important because from a young age, Bonnie Prince Charlie had been brought up to believe that he was the rightful king. 

[00:04:38] The Protestants had stolen the throne from his family, executed several of his family members, and installed one of their own as King.

[00:04:49] As a result, the Stuarts had been living in exile, split between France and what’s now Italy.

[00:04:57] Bonnie Prince Charlie, also known as the Young Pretender, was the idealistic, stylish, energetic and brave inheritor or heir of all this history of rejection, execution and exile.

[00:05:14] I should explain that in this context the title “Pretender” does not mean someone who acts or says that they are something that they are not, but it means someone who says that they have a right to a throne or crown – in other words, they feel that they are the legitimate monarch who should be the ruler. 

[00:05:35] For the French, Italian, or Spanish speakers, “pretend” in English is normally a false friend, but in this case it means what the similar word in your language means.

[00:05:47] So, Bonnie Prince Charlie has spent the first 24 years of his life in France and Italy. 

[00:05:54] He has never even set foot on British soil, he has never been to the British isles.

[00:06:01] Yet there is this burning desire to return, to take what he believes to be rightfully his.

[00:06:09] As well as being made aware of his legal right to the British throne, Charles was told of the divine basis for this right: known as the Divine Right of Kings, this was a key element of the Stuarts’ belief that they should be rulers with absolute power.

[00:06:28] He is remembered as a bit of a dreamer, as a romantic, and you can imagine that for someone with this character it must be very easy to romanticise this land that you believe God has destined you to rule over.

[00:06:46] So, in July 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, our idealistic prince, sailed in a French ship to North West Scotland. He had been hoping that the French would support him in his fight, but he arrived in Scotland with no real support, without an army.

[00:07:08] In order to take back the throne, he would need to raise an army in Britain.

[00:07:13] There was still support for the Stuart cause in Britain, especially among the Catholic population. 

[00:07:21] But, support for the Stuarts, otherwise known as Jacobitism, was punishable by death, it was completely illegal.

[00:07:31] There had been previous small uprisings against the Hanoverians, all of which had been brutally crushed.

[00:07:39] And while the Hanoverians might have been considered heretical German invaders when they first took the throne, people in Britain had been living under their rule since 1714, and they hadn’t lived under a Catholic Stuart since 1688. 

[00:07:57] Life wasn’t that different for most people, and given the fact that there was a lot to lose by pledging support for Bonnie Prince Charlie, it was certainly not a given, it wasn’t definite, that he would find the support that he needed.

[00:08:13] Whether Bonnie Prince Charlie didn’t know this, or whether he was just a real optimist, or a combination of the two, we cannot be sure.

[00:08:23] He assumed that he would arrive in Scotland and be welcomed with open arms, he would raise a large army, be supported by the French King Louis XV, and he would march down to London and take back the throne.

[00:08:38] Unfortunately it didn’t pan out quite like that, that’s not exactly what happened.

[00:08:44] So, let’s follow our adventurous and and dashing young prince, who, having landed in the Scottish Hebridian island of Eriskay far off the Northwest coast, raises his flag at the West Coast village of Arisaig and calls on the Highland clan chiefs to bring their warriors from their respective clans to support him and the Jacobite cause

[00:09:11] Although these clan chiefs had a powerful hold on their members, they couldn’t force them to join Charles and his Jacobite army. 

[00:09:21] After all, this young foreigner was young, inexperienced and, disappointingly, had brought with him no army of professional French soldiers. 

[00:09:32] He had no land to lose, whereas for the Highland chiefs, rebellion against the British Crown could be a disaster: if they were unsuccessful in their revolt it would mean at best being thrown in prison and their lands taken away.

[00:09:51] At worst, they would suffer public execution as traitors. 

[00:09:56] However, Charles did just manage to raise enough of an army – but only around 3000 men – it was enough to march on Edinburgh and for Scotland’s capital city to fall under his command. 

[00:10:11] He did meet with early success when in September 1745, just east of Edinburgh, in fact very close to where I used to live, on a misty September morning his Highland warriors surprised and massacred the poorly prepared Government army at a town called Prestonpans. 

[00:10:33] This was a terrible humiliation for the Government forces and a massive boost for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army. 

[00:10:42] The stories that went ahead of this Highland army, with their tartan clothes, their bagpipes and often their long, red hair and scary beards, became the stuff of folklore: these soldiers, so people said, were invincible and terrifying

[00:11:02] The next phase of the military campaign involved a quick march south when the Jacobite army met with no significant resistance. 

[00:11:13] They moved through the country going through areas where support for the Jacobite cause was strongest, eventually reaching the English town of Derby, which is only about 200km north of London.

[00:11:29] At Derby, there was a discussion between Charles and his senior commanders as to whether they should proceed to London.

[00:11:37] For Charles, London was the big prize. He didn’t only believe he was the rightful king of Scotland, he believed he was the King of Britain. 

[00:11:48] And you couldn’t be King of Britain without taking its capital and largest and most important city.

[00:11:56] Charles was all for gambling everything and carrying on, pushing south to the capital. 

[00:12:03] However, his commanders, above all the experienced general Lord George Murray, were unwilling and felt that, with no guaranteed French military aid, they were likely to fail. 

[00:12:17] So, the army of around 5,000 men turned around and went back up north. 

[00:12:24] Charles was reportedly someone who did not like it when he did not get his own way; he had, after all, lived his life as a prince, and was presumably not used to being told that something wasn’t possible.

[00:12:39] As the army marched north he was in a terrible mood, and his relationship with the experienced general Murray never recovered. 

[00:12:48] It wasn’t only Bonnie Prince Charlie that was in low spirits

[00:12:53] Most of the soldiers in the army weren’t professional soldiers, they were farmers, essentially. 

[00:12:59] They were not expecting to go on a long military campaign, and they needed to get back home for the harvest

[00:13:07] The soldiers also knew that the Government forces were determined to seek revenge for the humiliating defeat at Prestonpans, and to crush the Jacobite cause for good. 

[00:13:19] As a consequence, there was mass desertion as the army retraced its path back up north, many soldiers simply left the army.

[00:13:29] In the same way that it is interesting to speculate on what might have happened had William Wallace triumphed at Falkirk, or if Mary Queen of Scots hadn’t been executed by her cousin, so it is interesting to wonder what might have happened if Charles had continued and the Jacobite army had marched on London. 

[00:13:51] Ironically, there is some evidence to suggest that the French would have sent troops to support once Charles's army was close to London, and who knows what might have happened if they had.

[00:14:04] But, they didn’t. 

[00:14:05] Charles’ troops marched north, and headed to the north east of Scotland, where they had heard there was a growing group of soldiers supportive of the Jacobite cause. He thought that they could retreat to Scotland, join with this other army, and they would be in a better position from there.

[00:14:26] Before we move on to the decisive, tragic and historic events of the last battle on British soil, Culloden, it’s worth spending a minute reflecting on who was actually in these armies.

[00:14:40] It is very easy to simplify things and say that this was a story of Scotland vs. England, or Catholics vs. Protestants, it really isn’t as clear cut as this.

[00:14:53] The Jacobite army were mainly Catholics from the Highlands of Scotland, but also some Scottish Protestants and a small number of English and Irish. 

[00:15:05] And the Jacobite cause was supported by the French.

[00:15:09] The British government wasn’t just English, and it wasn’t just Protestant, although the majority would have been.

[00:15:17] The British Government forces also included many Scots, mainly from the Lowlands of Scotland, the southern part of Scotland, but there were also some soldiers from the Highlands, from the North.

[00:15:30] So, the armies were both mixed, and you would have had situations where men from nearby villages, perhaps even the same village, might have been fighting on different sides.

[00:15:44] Ironically perhaps and going against the myth of this being an imperialist battle between England and Scotland, it is thought that there were almost as many Scottish soldiers on the Government side as there were on the Jacobite side. 

[00:16:01] Turning to the numbers and make-up of the two armies now, Bonnie Prince Charlie‘s forces were virtually all foot soldiers, armed with some rifles, and around 7,000 in number. They had lost some men on the return north, but they had also gained some new men when they returned to Scotland.

[00:16:23] Crucially, they were not really professional soldiers.

[00:16:27] On the Government side, King George II’s youngest son, William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, was in charge.

[00:16:36] He had some 8000 soldiers under his command

[00:16:41] But his advantage wasn’t just in numbers.

[00:16:45] He had both artillery – so that’s cannons – and cavalry, so that's soldiers on horses.

[00:16:53] His army was also made up of well trained professionals. 

[00:16:58] So, as you can see, it was an unequal contest. 

[00:17:04] The disparity in the two armies‘ strength was all the greater because of what happened in the 24 hours before the battle. 

[00:17:14] Charles attempted a surprise night attack on the Government forces. 

[00:17:19] The government forces had been celebrating their commander's 25th birthday on that evening, 15th April, and each regiment had been given large amounts of brandy.

[00:17:32] Bonnie Prince Charlie thought that the government soldiers would be drunk, and so planned a surprise attack during the night.

[00:17:41] But, it was a long march to where the government camp was, about 13 kilometres, and the ground was muddy and wet. 

[00:17:52] The Jacobite army set off when the sun had gone down, and marched throughout the night. But by the time that the sun was coming up they still hadn’t arrived, and so turned back.

[00:18:06] By the time they arrived back at their camp, they were exhausted, they had been marching all night and many went to sleep.

[00:18:14] Remember, most of them had also been marching around Great Britain for most of the past 9 months, so they were tired anyway.

[00:18:23] It was later that day at around noon, around midday when the Jacobites were trying to sleep and gather some strength, that the Government forces arrived at an empty and muddy piece of ground, about 6km outside Inverness, in North East Scotland

[00:18:43] It was 16 April 1746 – a day best described by the atmospheric Scottish word as dreich, which means cold, wet and generally miserable. 

[00:18:57] It was on this day that the Battle of Culloden was fought, which was to be the last battle fought on British soil.

[00:19:06] The battle had a bizarre formality to it, with each side lining up, a mere 183 metres apart. 

[00:19:16] Each side stretched for about 300 meters. The entire battle would all be over in about 45 minutes. 

[00:19:25] It was a complete massacre

[00:19:28] The government forces started firing on the Jacobite army, and hundreds were killed before they could get anywhere near the government forces.

[00:19:38] After 10 or 15 minutes of being fired on, they charged at the government army, but the muddy nature of the ground and the fact that they had no protection from the bullets of the government soldiers, who could fire two bullets every minute, meant that many of them were slaughtered as they advanced across the bare ground; the few who arrived at the enemy lines were pushed back by bayonets and then cavalry

[00:20:10] At least 1250 Jacobites were killed and an equal number wounded. It was clear that there was no way for the army to progress against the significantly superior government forces.

[00:20:24] Bonnie Prince Charlie did manage to escape, as did around 5,000 of his 7,000 men. 

[00:20:32] In total the British government forces only had around 300 soldiers killed or wounded, 8 times less than the Jacobites.

[00:20:42] In the aftermath of this historic battle, which was so tragic for the doomed Jacobite cause, Charles would be blamed, both for putting his tired, hungry and demoralised soldiers into battle and for fighting on a battlefield which would work to the advantage or benefit of the Government forces and against the few advantages that the Jacobites had. 

[00:21:08] He would also be criticised for the way in which he directed his soldiers. 

[00:21:14] After all, it was the first battle that he had actually directed himself - he was not a soldier, he was a prince who had grown up in the luxurious ballrooms of Paris and Rome.

[00:21:28] Indeed, as Bonnie Prince Charlie ran away from the battle one of his generals, Lord Elcho, reportedly shouted after him “Run, you cowardly Italian”.

[00:21:40] After this very brief and one-sided battle, the Government commander, the Duke of Cumberland, was determined to teach the Jacobite rebels a lesson.

[00:21:51] They advanced to the Jacobite side and killed every wounded soldier they could find.

[00:21:58] For days afterwards the defeated soldiers and their families were hunted down and killed by the Government troops. 

[00:22:06] This would now be classified as ethnic cleansing, and was a permanent stain on the reputation of the Duke of Cumberland, earning him the title of “Butcher Cumberland”.

[00:22:20] And as for Bonnie Prince Charlie, he slipped off into the darkness, eventually escaping to France, and living the rest of his life in Paris, consumed by melancholy and alcoholism.

[00:22:34] We actually know relatively little about his later life, and, like a rock star who dies in their twenties, he remains in the popular imagination as an ever-youthful, romantic hero.

[00:22:48] Now, to the legacy of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and his impact on Scottish nationalism. 

[00:22:55] The events of the Jacobite rebellion are remembered by many as a battle of Scotland vs. England, but as I hope will now be clear, this is a great simplification of the truth.

[00:23:10] For several years after Culloden, Highlandism, so that’s doing things like wearing tartan and kilts, the Scottish skirts, was forbidden, and there was suppression of all things Scottish.

[00:23:25] But towards the end of the 18th century, as it was clear that there was no hope for a restoration of the Stuarts, this was repealed, it was removed and it quickly became fashionable. 

[00:23:40] The prolific Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott, featured the Jacobite rebellion and Bonnie Prince Charlie himself in a highly romanticised version in his novels. 

[00:23:52] When King George IV visited Edinburgh in 1822, Scott having organised the festivities, the King was fully dressed in Highland Dress. 

[00:24:03] Given his and his ancestors’ history with the highlanders, this was somewhat ironic

[00:24:11] And Queen Victoria was also so taken by the romanticism of the Scottish Highlands that she bought the Highland castle, Balmoral, which is now where the Royal Family spend their summers. 

[00:24:25] Highlandism is a powerful force now – especially in the USA and in Northern Europe. 

[00:24:32] Culloden provides a powerful, emotive myth: the image of a brave, noble Celtic people having their final heroic stand against the forces of English industrial imperialism catches the popular imagination.

[00:24:48] And Highlandism has come into fashion again thanks to the popular TV series, Outlander, which has the Jacobite rebellion at the centre of its story. 

[00:24:59] The myth is certainly powerful. 

[00:25:02] So, finally, as has become customary, here are some weird and wonderful facts about this story.

[00:25:10] Against all advice in 1750, Charles did finally reach London, but in disguise or incognito; during that visit, in order to try to convince his potential supporters that he could be trusted with the British throne, he became a Protestant, converting to Anglicanism. 

[00:25:31] Secondly, Charles‘s body is buried in two different places. His heart is buried in Frascati Cathedral, just outside Rome. The rest of his remains are in Saint Peter‘s Basilica, also in Rome. 

[00:25:45] Thirdly, Jacobite clubs, so groups of people which supported the restoration of the Stuarts, would meet in secret, and toast what they called “The King over the Water“. They would do this by passing the wine over a bowl of water in order to toast the health of the exiled Stuarts, who were over the water, over the English channel, in Europe. 

[00:26:11] And finally, a fact that might be of particular interest to the Spanish listeners, is that the Stuart family line is not extinct, it is not dead.

[00:26:21] Indeed, the senior heir of the Royal Stuarts is a man called Carlos Fritz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo, who is one of the most prominent of the Spanish nobility and one of the wealthiest people in Spain. 

[00:26:38] So, there you go, Bonnie Prince Charlie. 

[00:26:41] To some, he is a foolish pretender, a coward who ran away after his men were slaughtered.

[00:26:49] But to others he is a symbol of bravery, a man who devoted his life to a cause he believed in, and one who was struck down by an evil government.

[00:27:00] Whatever side you come down on, it is hard to deny that there is something almost Shakespearean about Bonnie Prince Charlie, the story of the prince who returns to take what he believes to be rightfully his, and is able to raise an army to support him, but, as with all of the other characters in this mini-series, discovers that trying your luck against the English army is a bold, but often disastrous move.

[00:27:31] OK then, that is it for today's episode on Bonnie Prince Charlie, and with it comes the end of this mini-series on Scottish Heroes.

[00:27:40] As a reminder, part one was on William Wallace, the original revolutionary who fought for Scottish independence and was executed as a reward.

[00:27:50] And in part two we learned about Mary Queen of Scots, a woman who was also killed more for what she was rather than what she did.

[00:28:00] I hope you enjoyed this mini-series, and that you found these stories of these three very different characters interesting, and it helped you understand a little bit more about the complicated relationship between Scotland and England.

[00:28:17] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode, and of this mini-series in general.

[00:28:23] For the members among you, you can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:28:34] And as a final reminder, if you enjoyed this episode, and you are wondering where to get all of our bonus episodes, plus the transcripts, subtitles, and key vocabulary, then the place to go to is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:28:48] I am on a mission to make Leonardo English the most interesting way of improving your English, and I would love for you to join me, and curious minds from 50 different countries, on that journey.

[00:29:01] The place you can go to for all of that is leonardoenglish.com.

[00:29:07] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:29:12] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

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