Friday, 1 August 2014

Charles Stuart and his Hanoverian Cousins.

The name Stewart (or Stuart) derives from the title, High Steward of Scotland, bestowed by the King on the Anglo-Norman knight, Walter Fitzalan in the middle of the 12th century. High Steward was a high office in the Scottish royal household, responsible for the overall administration of the court, and control of royal revenues. His position gave him the right to lead the army into battle. Walter was the first High Steward of Scotland. A descendant of his, also called Walter Fitzalan, became the 6th High Steward of Scotland, now known as Walter Stewart. He married Marjory Bruce, daughter of King Robert the Bruce. Their son, Robert, eventually became King Robert II of Scotland. He was the first of the Stewart family to ascend the throne of Scotland in the year 1371 and the first in a long line of Stewart Kings of Scotland and later of Britain. The first Ruler of the United Kingdom of Great Britain was King James VI of Scotland, the son of Mary Queen of Scots. In 1603 he ascended to the thrones of Scotland, England and Ireland, and would be named King James the First of Great Britain. After this, problems arose between the Stewart kings and their subjects, often orchestrated by the religious divide caused by the Reformation. Later Stewart monarchs( Charles I) acted like 'Little Gods on Earth,' whose Divine Right to Rule was their firm belief, but not that of the people's parliament. What followed were terrible civil wars, the last regicide in Britain, a people's republic and the Restoration of the Monarchy under Charles II. When he died in 1685, his younger brother was crowned King James II, but his reign only endured until 1689. People thought that James was a practicing Catholic, and when his second wife was expecting a child, the fear of the country reverting to Catholicism, brought matters to a head. Parliament invited his Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband William III of Orange (in Holland) to accept the Crown of Great Britain. Civil war followed, and in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne in Northern Ireland, the army of James II was defeated. James went into exile in France, never to return.. The last Stuart monarch of Britain was Queen Anne, after whose death in 1714 saw its future rulers chosen from princes of a foreign country. At critical times, after King James II was defeated and forced into exile in France, various attempts were made to place a Stuart back on the throne of Britain. In 1689 Viscount Graham of Claverhouse ('Bonnie Dundee') raised an army in support of the deposed King James II. On the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the last Stuart ruler of Britain, the accession of the Hanoverian Prince George provoked a rebellion under the Earl of Mar in 1715. In 1719 a small army of Scots and 200 Spanish troops were defeated at Glenshiel, at which a young Lord George Murray took part. Finally, we have the 1745 rebellion/rising in support of Charles Edward Stuart. It is noticeable that each of these risings took place in Scotland - not in England nor Ireland. Religion, the Highland Clan structure and the politics of the day would be factors in making Highland Scotland a place touched by the 'spirit of rebellion'. Queen Anne died without an heir in 1714, and the issue of succession could only be solved by retracing the Stuart line back to King James I of England (and VI of Scotland). Everyone knows that King James had a son, the unfortunate Charles I, but few are aware of the existence of a daughter, Elizabeth (1596-1662) who married Frederick, King of Bohemia. In biblical parlance, Elizabeth Stuart begat Sophia, Electress of Hanover who begat a son George who was invited over to Britain to be their new king, King George I. There followed a series of "German Geordies", whom Charles Stuart and his supporters looked on as usurpers of the Three Crowns of Britain. In the years 1745 and 1746, the Crown of Britain was fought over by the Jacobite and Hanoverian forces, and the winner would take all.

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