Culloden and Bonnie Prince Charlie

One more note on this April 16th, which also marks the anniversary of the Battle of Culloden in 1746, when the Scottish regiments, in support of Charles Stuart, were decisively defeated by the English. Bonnie Prince Charlie, as he was known, was the grandson of James VII of Scotland, also James II of England, who had been usurped by the interlopers William of Orange and Mary, who was James’ Protestant daughter.

In the aftermath of the battle, the highlands were ‘cleared’ – that is, the lands seized from their rightful owners, the customs crushed, retributive reprisals – not unlike what was done to Ireland and the Irish.

Prince Charlie himself was taken ‘over the sea to Skye’, the picturesque granite island just off the coast, to save him from English revenge. To this day, the Stuart descendants claim their right to the thrones of Scotland and England. I met one serendipitously on the Isle of Mull many years ago.

The Battle of Culloden is commemorated in the elegiac ballad, the Skye Boat Song, here sung by the Alistair McDonald: