Marking Charles Edward Stuart’s birthday

Yesterday (20 December 2020) marked 300 years since the birth of Charles Edward Stuart, the Jacobite Prince of Wales who led the Highlanders to victory at Prestonpans in 1745. Or at least it marked the date on which his birthday was marked by his supporters in Britain, where the calendar still lagged 11 days behind the Gregorian calendar on which his birth was marked in Europe as 31 December!

To mark this significant anniversary, the Trust has produced a short homage to the Prince in the form of a 3m30s film. This modest creation imagines Charles Edward at Holyroodhouse in October 1745, returned from a review of his soldiers and preparing to sit for the portraitist Allan Ramsay. The campaign clothes – weapons, bonnet and tartan – are set aside for the velvets and brocades of courtly styles, as the Prince changes presentation from that of the soldier to that of the statesman. Something of a PR master himself in 1745, we hope he might approve!

Thanks to all those involved in making the film – no small feat given the uniquely difficult circumstances of 2020!

In addition to producing Portrait of a Prince, we also held a special digital lecture last night at which Arran Johnston explored the Prince’s life and character. It remains available on our facebook page until the New Year, whilst members of the Friends of the Bonnie Prince will find it amongst the full archive of Zoom lectures in the members’ area.

Those of you who missed out on the chance to toast the Prince by the Julian calendar will of course have another chance to do so by sticking with the Gregorian and wishing him a Happy Birthday on 31 December!

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