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Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, lived in exile until he instigated the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

Personal History

Charles was born in the Palazzo Muti, Rome, Italy, where his father had been given a residence by Pope Clement XI. He spent almost all his childhood in Rome and Bologna. His childhood in Rome was one of privilege, being brought up Catholic in a loving but argumentative family. Being, in their own opinion, the last legitimate heirs of the House of Stuart, his family lived with a sense of pride and staunchly believed in the Divine Right of Kings. Regaining the thrones of England and Scotland for the Stuarts was a constant topic of conversation in the household, principally reflected in his father's often morose and combative moods.

In 1734, Charles Edward observed the French and Spanish siege of Gaeta, his first exposure to the art of war. In December 1743, Charles's father named him Prince Regent, giving him authority to act in his name. His father managed to obtain the renewed support of the French government in 1744; and Charles Edward traveled to France with the sole purpose of commanding a French army.[2]

Events of the Novels

Dragonfly in Amber

In 1744: Charles leaves his father's court in Rome and goes to France to try to persuade his cousin King Louis XV to back him in a rebellion attempt. He begins an affair with Louise de La Tour de Rohan and gets her pregnant. Charles begins scheming to reclaim the Scottish throne behind the back of his father. He receives an offer of fifty thousand pounds from an English backer, though it is contingent upon his setting foot on English soil.

Charles's friendship with Jamie Fraser deepens and he starts inviting him to taverns in the evenings. Charles continues to be snubbed by Louis, who won't receive him at court, thus ensuring that he cannot mingle in French society and make the connections he needs to fund his plans. Charles secures a loan from a bank to invest in a shipment of high quality port with the Comte St. Germain. Philip of Spain refuses to lend any assistance to the Stuarts and Charles's investment in the shipment of port is lost, thanks to Jamie and Murtagh faking smallpox on board the ship.

Line engraving of Charles Edward Stuart in 1746

In 1745: Charles begins his campaign to reclaim the throne. He sends out a broadsheet stating his intentions; the document is signed by his supporters, and Jamie discovers – to his horror – that Charles has taken the liberty of signing Jamie's name to it.

Charles's Jacobite army wins its first major engagement at the Battle of Prestonpans with very few casualties. In October, after Prestonpans, Charles leads his army back to Edinburgh. During his time at Edinburgh, Charles engenders some ill will by snubbing most of the Scottish noblemen and instead turning to his old friends from the continent for advice. Charles Stuart's forces attempt to take Stirling Castle from the English by siege. His victory is brief, but inspires him to attempt to march onward into England, despite a lack of support from those living south of Edinburgh. He instructs Jamie to go to Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat and bring the men of Clan Fraser to join his army. Charles also asks Jamie to leave Donas behind for him to ride and Jamie agrees, as he fears Lord Lovat may steal him.

Charles takes his army into England but his chiefs refuse to go further than Derby and he is forced to return northward. When Jamie's men are caught deserting Charles is furious and has them all thrown into the Tolbooth under sentence of death. Dougal MacKenzie arrives to join the Highland army with 250 men and 10,000 pounds in sterling, for which Charles is grateful, as his money is running low.

In 1746: Jamie, Dougal, and Simon Fraser, Master of Lovat call on Charles Stuart at Stirling Castle and plead with him to release the Lallybroch men from prison. In March 1746, the man who had promised Charles Stuart £50,000, the Duke of Sandringham, is killed without having fulfilled his promise. By April, the Highland Army is in retreat and running out of food. Charles Stuart takes command of the army and orders them to take a stand on Culloden Moor.


Jamie describes him as no great thinker, but charming in person with the ability to persuade people to do things against their better judgment.[3]

Physical Appearance

Sturdy and good looking with loosely curling, thick light brown hair and a fair face.[4] He has soft brown eyes.[5]


  • Louise de La Tour: In 1744 in Paris, Charles has an affair with Louise, who passes off their child as the offspring of her husband.
  • Jamie Fraser: Charles accepts Jamie as a confidante while navigating the political waters of Paris, and later during the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland.


  • Charles is from the Germanic name Karl, which was derived from a Germanic word meaning "man". However, an alternative theory states that it is derived from the common Germanic element hari meaning "army, warrior".[6]
  • Edward means "rich guard", derived from the Old English elements ead "wealth, fortune" and weard "guard".[7]
  • Louis is the French form of Ludovicus, the Latinized form of Ludwig,[8] from the Germanic name Chlodovech, which was composed of the elements hlud "famous" and wig "war, battle".[9]
  • John is the English form of Iohannes, the Latin form of the Greek name Ιωαννης (Ioannes), itself derived from the Hebrew name יוֹחָנָן (Yochanan) meaning "Yahweh is gracious".[10]
  • Casimir is the English form of the Polish name Kazimierz, which may be derived from the Slavic element kaziti "to destroy" combined with miru "peace, world".[11] The alternative description derives his name from Slavic kazati meaning "to preach".[citation needed]
  • Sylvester is a Medieval variant of Silvester,[12] from a Roman name meaning "of the forest" from Latin silva "wood, forest".[13]
  • Severino is an Italian, Spanish and Portuguese form of Severinus,[14] a Roman family name which was derived from Severus[15] a Roman family name meaning "stern" in Latin.[16]
  • Maria is the Latin form of Greek Μαρια, from Hebrew מִרְיָם (Mary),[17] the meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love".[18]
  • Stuart is a variant of Stewart,[19] an occupational name for an administrative official of an estate or steward, from Old English stig "house" and weard "guard".[20]


  • In real life, Charles did not begin his affair with Louise until 1747.
  • Louise and Charles Stuart were first cousins.
  • In the novel, Charles was bitten by Louise's temperamental pet monkey that dislikes everyone.

TV Series

English actor Andrew Gower portrays Charles Stuart on the Outlander television adaptation.[21]




  1. In the novel, Louise writes to Claire to tell her that her son by Charles is named Henri. In real life, Henri born in August 1745 was a legitimate heir of Louise's husband, and her illegitimate child by Charles, born in 1748, was named Charles and died in infancy.
  2. Charles Edward Stuart
  3. Dragonfly in Amber, chapter 22
  4. Dragonfly in Amber, chapter 11
  5. Dragonfly in Amber, chapter 36
  6. Behind the Name: Charles - accessed 09 June 2016
  7. Behind the Name: Edward - accessed 09 June 2016
  8. Behind the Name: Louis - accessed 09 june 2016
  9. Behind the Name: Ludwig - accessed 09 June 2016
  10. Behind the Name: John - accessed 09 June 2016
  11. Behind the Name: Casimir - accessed 09 June 2016
  12. Behind the Name: Sylvester - accessed 09 June 2016
  13. Behind the Name: Silvester - accessed 09 June 2016
  14. Behind the Name: Severino - accessed 09 June 2016
  15. Behind the Name: Severinus - accessed 09 June 2016
  16. Behind the Name: Severus - accessed 09 June 2016
  17. Behind the Name: Maria - accessed 09 June 2016
  18. Behind the Name: Mary - accessed 09 June 2016
  19. Behind the Name Surname: Stuart - accessed 09 June 2016
  20. Behind the Name Surname: Stewart - accessed 09 June 2016
  21. 'Outlander' Season 2: Bonnie Prince Charlie, Fergus & More Roles Cast – June 10, 2015