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Who are the Jacobites?
By Jerry Jardine, FSA(Scot.)

"Jacobite" was the name given to the party, which after the revolution of 1688 in Britain, in which King James II and his family fled to Europe and settled in Rome, continued to support the Stuart dynasty, as representing the Divine Right to rule. It is derived from the Latin word Jacobus, meaning James and was coined during the reign of King James I & VI.

Many Americans have heard that the House of Windsor (Queen Elizabeth) has no right to the British throne. This has come about by various individuals coming forward and proclaiming themselves to be the true successors to the House of Stuart, and due to our trusting American nature, some of us actually believe them. Most notable of these today being a gentleman styling himself as Prince Michael of Albany . But that is another story !

The Jacobites believe that the Royal House of Stuart is still in existence. That is partially true. The last male pretender to the English & Scottish thrones, with the Stuart name, was Cardinal King Henry IX & I, (IX of England, I of Scotland), younger brother of King Charles Edward Stuart III (Bonnie Prince Charlie).

If the laws of progeny were followed, the descendents of the  youngest daughter of King Charles I , Princess Henrietta Anne, should have followed her nieces, Queens Mary & Anne, to the throne. Henrietta Anne was born on June 16, 1644 in Exeter, England and died in St. Cloud, France in 1670. Already in exile with her Mother & family in France, she was five years old when her father was beheaded. She married Philippe I, Duke of Anjou & Orleans. Philippe outlived Henrietta by one year, dying of apoplexy in 1701. An interesting year as we shall soon see. They had three children. The third
child, a daughter Anne Marie, survived longest and was know as Mademoiselle de Anjou. She married the Duke of Savoy and their son became King Charles III of Sardinia & Sicily. Her older sister, Marie Louise, Mademoiselle d€™ Orleans,* became the consort Queen of Spain. The line continues later in this article.

What a different story there would be if those linear heirs had proceeded to the throne.

William of Orange had married his first cousin, Mary, eldest daughter of King James II. & VII. William was the son of King James II sister Mary.  This union produced no children which may have been a blessing in disguise considering the closeness of the in-breeding. Also, one considers the stories of William being  "a soldiers soldier ".

William saw that the succession from himself and Mary would be Mary's younger sister Anne and was not at all happy about the consequences of that.  Anne, soon to be Queen Anne, was addicted to laudanum (a derivative of opium). She also unfortunately had a string of pregnancy miscarriages. It is believed that she may have had 16 miscarriages and none of her children lived into adulthood.  At the risk of repeating oneself, next in line should have been the descendants of the youngest daughter of King Charles I, Princess Henrietta Anne - a Catholic !

After all the sufferings the English and Scots had gone through because of this branch of the House of Stuart and their religious intolerance, William was not about to allow the country to return to being a Roman Catholic kingdom. William III ( as he was rightfully known) being Dutch and Protestant, had with  him in London a large contingent of his Dutch Guard. So many in fact that some politicians were wondering if they had been invaded and conquered and had not realized it.

William summoned a parliament on January 22nd., 1687 and on January 28th. the House of Commons passed legislation that read in part ".......That it hath been found by experience inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a Popish Prince" After some political wrangling , assisted no doubt by the forceful presence of William's Dutch guards, William and Mary were declared King & Queen (William III & Mary II).

The Act of Settlement & The Act of the Abjuration were both passed in 1701 both by a majority of merely one vote. These acts settled the succession on Sophie, the Electress of Hanover (grand-daughter of James I & VI) and her Protestant successors. This to the exclusion of her two older brothers Charles and Edward of the Palatine, both of whom had issue and also to the exclusion of  the more legitimate Roman Catholic successors to Charles I . There were in fact 42 others with a more legitimate linear claim to the throne.

The day after the passing of these Acts, William fell off his horse and was killed. Queen Mary had preceded him in1694. Their work was completed . Since the beheading  of King Charles I, the passage of these Acts of Parliament reinforced the concept of a "Parliamentary Constitutional  Monarchy".

By the time Queen Anne died the succession fell to  Sophie's son The Elector of Hanover who became King George I. He passed away in 1727 and his son became King George II - and the rest, as they say, is history.

There are one or two interesting side bars to this story. In 1718 King George I  must have felt insecure or had doubts about his legitimacy to the throne for he convened a conference called the Quadruple Alliance. This alliance contained a guaranty of the succession to the British throne to himself, his heirs and successors of both sexes. His son King George II also repeated the procedure in 1748, (two years after the Jacobite rebellion that ended in the slaughter of the Scottish clans at the battle of Culloden), with a conference entitled The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. The number of illustrious heads of state that signed the document was quite impressive for the times. Most notably that of King Charles Emanuel III of Sardinia who was in fact the then current Jacobite claimant to the British throne ! The true Jacobites, while acceding his right to resign his own rights, do not accept that he could sign away the rights of his heirs and successors.

The House of Hanover were now so secure in their tenancy of the throne that they paid no attention to more than one or two alleged visits to London by Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

After the death of the pretender, Cardinal King Henry IX & I, (Charles' younger brother), the Stuart claim to the throne passed to King Charles Emanuel IV of Sardinia of the Royal House of Savoy and then to his brother King Victor Emanuel I. Then the line passes from the House of Savoy to the House of Hapsburg in Germany and then to the House of Wittelsbach where it rests today in the person of Francis, Duke of Bavaria (styled by the Jacobites as King Francis II ). This gentleman who is childless, will pass on the succession to his brother Maximillian- Emanuael , Duke in Bavaria, who is married and has five daughters.

The eldest is Sophie who is married to Alois, Hereditary Prince of Leichtenstein and son of Hans-Adam II, Reigning Prince of Liechtenstein. They have three children, the eldest of which is Joseph Wenzel . Alois and Sophie spent several years in London together. She graduated from an interior design school and Alois was employed by an auditing firm. Joseph is the first prince of the Stuart successors to have been born in London since James II & VII. Therefore it seems that young Joseph Wenzel, Prince of Leichtenstein will be destined to carry the legitimate dynastic genes of the old Scottish House of Stuart into the third millennium.

It would take an act of parliament to remove the religious restrictions placed upon the current British royalty. Within living memory the current Prince Michael of Kent (cousin to Queen Elizabeth II) was removed from the royal line of succession after marrying a Roman Catholic Princess. His position in the line was so far removed from the throne, that it  made no difference to his life or that of the country. Perhaps just as interesting is the fact that in the new Scottish parliament, the Scottish National Party pushed through a resolution calling for the repeal of those Acts of Parliament that bar Roman Catholics from the throne. The debate to repeal the Act of Settlement is now under hot debate in both Scotland and England as being outdated and bigoted.

Interested parties should note that the British monarchy, as mentioned earlier, is not only a constitutional one but is also a "parliamentary constitutional monarchy". Parliament has the final say as to who the monarch shall be. To wit, the removal of King Charles I - and his head !

Another example of parliamentary supremacy, which is worthy of a separate article, was in more recent times (1936) when the government surreptitiously removed King Edward VIII (Duke of Windsor) from the throne and replaced him with his younger brother, King George VI. It was styled an  "abdication for the woman he loved". A twice divorced American woman. However, he was considered totally unsuited to be king and emperor by the government of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. He was considered to be dissolute, irresponsible and the secret of his inability to provide issue was semi-public knowledge.

It is also interesting to note that the Houses of Windsor,( formerly Hanover, later Saxe-Coburg-Gotha ) ; Mountbatten, (formerly Battenburg); and Stuart (now Wittelsbach, soon to be Leichtenstein), have a great many German Princely relatives.

Copyright 1999, 2001.
Bibliography: Noel McFerran, Edward Hall.
* McFerran & Hall seem to disagree on the titles of these two ladies



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