Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, until November 12

Bonnie Prince Charlie, born in exile in Rome in 1720 and buried there in 1788, spent a mere 14 months in Scotland: in 1745-6 and a brief clandestine return visit in 1750. However, he left behind legends and a true legacy of history and Catholicism.

This fascinating exhibition provides a comprehensive narrative exploring the lives and events of the Jacobites and their attempts to reinstate the deposed Catholic Stuart king James II and his heirs to the throne after his exile to France.

Exhibits are drawn from public and private collections across Britain, France, Italy and the Vatican, forming the largest exhibition of the Jacobite era for decades.

The exhibition is based on the five Jacobite challenges to the throne, culminating in the doomed 1745 campaign and its bloody end at Culloden, and Charlie’s famous escape to the Isle of Skye. Entering the exhibition to airs of the Skye Boat Song, visitors may feel they have fallen into a timeshift like the heroine of television’s Outlander. What is important here is the visual: Jacobitism reflected the human passions of the Scottish enlightenment, more than its rationalist side.

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