James Francis Edward Stuart

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Stuart, James Francis Edward (1688–1766), the ‘Old Pretender’. Son and heir of James VII of Scotland and II of England and Ireland by his second wife, Mary of Modena. The oddity of the catholic James II as head of the Anglican church-state was acceptable to protestant opinion only because his heir was the protestant Mary, daughter of a first marriage and wed to William of Orange. The birth of Prince James in June 1688 precipitated the Glorious Revolution. He was taken to France at his father's command in December 1688.

The propaganda querying his parentage was false, but the decision by Louis XIV to recognize him as heir to the British thrones when his father died in 1701 helped precipitate the War of the Spanish Succession. He participated in an abortive invasion of Scotland in 1708. In 1713 he was expelled from France to Lorraine. In late 1715 he joined the Scottish rising, fleeing from Montrose in the following spring. He was in Spain during the 1719 rising in the Highlands, returning to Italy to marry the Polish princess Clementina Sobieska, by whom he had two sons, Charles and Henry, and little happiness. He spent the last Jacobite rising, the '45, as a papal pensioner in Rome, happy to abdicate if Prince Charles succeeded. Latterly he had little to do except attend religious services. He died in January 1766.

Bruce Philip Lenman

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Stuart, James Francis Edward (1688–1766) British claimant to the throne, called the ‘Old Pretender’. The only son of James II, his birth precipitated the Glorious Revolution (1688), and he was brought up in exile. On the death of his father in 1701, the Jacobites proclaimed James king. After an abortive attempt to depose Anne (1708) by invading from Scotland (where support for the Stuart cause was greatest), James served in the French army. The accession of George I (1714) prompted James to attempt a further unsuccessful uprising. His son was Charles Stuart.

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