A claimant to the throne of England at the castle of the Roche Goyon (Castle La Latte)
The War of the Throne
In November 1715, in the icy mist of La Latte, a figure emerges. It's James Francis Stuart, claimant to the throne of England, preparing to leave for Scotland.
A little reminder: James Francis is the son of King James II of England and Ireland, born in 1633..
After his father lost the throne and found refuge in France following a revolution, James Francis, also a refugee in France, resumes the fight for the throne held by his half-sister, Mary II, married to King William of the Netherlands.
"Portrait De James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766) "
Portrait de James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766) "Le vieux prétendant"
Among his supporters, including Louis XIV, James Francis is even declared King of England under the name of James III, at the Castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (78) ! But in vain. He fails to ascend to that accursed English throne.
So, in November 1715, James Francis leaves France for Scotland in the hope of a surprise landing to rally the country in his favor.
A stormy night! Planned to depart from Saint-Malo, he must stop at the Castle of the Roche Goyon due to rough seas. The living conditions at the castle are known thanks to the Journal of a certain Saint-Paul, who accompanies him. He lands one November evening and claims it's the ugliest and most terrifying place to spend a night! There's a shortage of wood for cooking and no comforts, of course...
A week later, James is finally able to leave for Dunkirk, then Scotland. There, with the help of Spain (and secretly France), he attempts a landing. Unfortunately, he is met with strong resistance and must flee back to France again.
Poor James! Weakened and ill, after a brief stay at the court of Lorraine and the Holy See in Rome, he tries one last time to become king. In vain...
Jacques François Stuart - The Knight of Saint George
Titles and Claims:
- Claimant to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland
- September 16, 1701 – January 1, 1766 (64 years, 3 months, and 16 days)
- Claimed name: "James III and VIII"
- Prince of Wales: July 4 – December 11, 1688 (5 months and 7 days)
James Francis Stuart, also known as the "Knight of Saint-George," was born on June 10, 1688, at St. James's Palace in London, England. He is the son of King James II of England and Ireland, and VII of Scotland (1633-1701), and his second wife, Princess Mary of Modena (1658-1718).
Controversy at Birth:
At his birth, rumors circulated that James Francis Stuart was an impostor baby, secretly switched in the royal birthing room with a stillborn child. To refute this legend, James published the testimonies of more than seventy witnesses of his birth.
Claims to the Throne:
Upon the death of James II of England, who had lost his throne during the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and had found refuge in France, James Francis revived his father's claims. His half-sister, Mary, the eldest daughter of James II, became queen as Mary II of England with her husband William of Orange. The supporters of James Francis proclaimed him king under the name "James III of England and Ireland and VIII of Scotland" on September 16, 1701, at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, where he had taken refuge with his sister Louise Marie Thérèse Stuart, and a court primarily composed of English and Scottish Catholic and legitimist supporters. However, James never managed to recover any of his thrones and reign.
Most European countries recognized William III and Mary II of England as the only legitimate sovereigns. Only Spain, Modena, the Holy See, and France supported the claims of James Francis Stuart, but this support ended with the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697.
Supported by King Louis XIV of France, James Francis Stuart participated in the Flanders campaign in 1708-1709, notably at the Battle of Malplaquet, alongside the grandsons of the King of France. Despite his attempts to organize a landing in Scotland to rally the country in his favor, he failed. The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 forced Louis XIV to recognize the English succession law and no longer support alternative solutions.
Exile and Restoration Attempts:
After multiple unsuccessful attempts to regain the English throne, James Francis Stuart found refuge in Rome in 1717, where the Pope accommodated him at the Palazzo Muti and provided him with a personal guard and a pension until his death.
In 1719, a new restoration attempt supported by Spain failed. The fleet intended to transport him was scattered and destroyed by a storm off Cape Finisterre. In Scotland, a Jacobite army was crushed at the Battle of Glen Shiel in 1719. These events, known as "The Nineteen," marked James Francis Stuart's last attempt to become king.
Marriage and Descendants:
In 1719, James Francis Stuart married Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska (1702-1735) at the Episcopal Palace of Montefiascone in Rome. She was the granddaughter of King John III of Poland. They had two sons:
- Charles Edward Louis John (1720-1788), also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, who claimed the throne as Charles III.
- Henry Benedict Maria Clement (1725-1807), Cardinal Duke of York, who claimed the throne as Henry IX.
James Francis Stuart died on January 1, 1766, at the Palazzo Balestra in Rome, at the age of 77, and was buried in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. His attempt to restore the English and Scottish thrones remained unsuccessful, marking the end of the main line of the Stuarts.