Reckless campaigner or intelligent strategist?

Author Mike Nevin believes that the depiction of the Prince in some modern narratives is wholly inaccurate.

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A new book published to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of perhaps the most controversial figure in British history, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, on Hogmanay calls for a reappraisal of his character and career.

Reminiscences of a Jacobite: The Untold Story of the Rising of 1745 by Michael Nevin.

Reminiscences of a Jacobite draws on the Prince’s own previously unpublished account as well as a number of other first-hand accounts in seeking to understand the thinking of the man who led the Rising of 1745.

The book’s author, Michael Nevin, current chairman of The 1745 Association, says the depiction of the Prince in narratives such as Outlander is wholly inaccurate.

‘Outlander shows the Prince as a small man with a high-pitched voice, representing him as a religious fanatic who recklessly launched a campaign which had no chance of success,’ he said.

‘In fact, he stood at 5’10” – tall by the standards of the day – and was a powerful orator, as shown by the call to arms to his men on the eve of the battle of Prestonpans. He was a highly intelligent individual who advocated religious tolerance and had a clear and credible strategy to regain the throne, which might well have succeeded had the Jacobite leadership followed his plea to continue the advance onto London from Derby.’

The picture we have of the Prince today, he says, is largely based on false propaganda fabricated by his enemies.

‘In recent years, I have worked in South Africa, where a process of peace and reconciliation was initiated by Nelson Mandela after the apartheid era, and in Rwanda, where a similar process of truth and reconciliation has brought the nation together since the 1994 genocide,’ said Mr Nevin.

‘What is remarkable is that, even now, 300 years after the Prince’s birth, no similar process has occurred with respect to the Rising of 1745, leaving an unresolved legacy of misunderstanding and bitterness. Perhaps the Prince’s tercentenary is an appropriate moment to begin such a process.’

Reminiscences of a Jacobite: The Untold Story of the Rising of 1745 by Michael Nevin is published by Birlinn Ltd [ISBN No: 9781839830099] to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. A talk by the author earlier this month to introduce the book and answer questions about it from a well-informed audience has been uploaded by Birlinn on its YouTube channel at: