Many historic figures had dark and slimy sides to their personalities. Take Bonnie Prince Charlie, who as a charming youth led a rebellion in a failed attempt to gain the British throne. Although it ended in a disaster that killed thousands, the Bonnie Prince emerged as a romantic figure adored by many down the generations. In real life, Charlie was a nasty piece of work, a mean drunk, and a serial woman beater. Below are thirty things about those and other slimy facts about historic figures.
30. Bonnie Prince Charlie Was Not a Nice Guy
Charles Edward Stuart (1720 – 1788), commonly known as “Bonnie Prince Charlie”, is one of history’s most highly romanticized figures. Grandson of the last Catholic British monarch, the exiled King James II, Charles was the last serious Stuart Dynasty claimant to the British throne. Stuart supporters, known as Jacobites, frequently rebelled against Britain’s new ruling dynasty, the Hanoverians. The last such rebellion in 1745-1746, led by Charles himself as a young man in his mid-twenties, culminated in catastrophic defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. His dramatic escape afterward cemented Charlie as a romantic figure of heroic failure. However, while thousands eagerly risked and willingly gave their lives for Charles, the Bonnie Prince probably deserved neither their admiration nor sacrifice.
The real-life Charles Edward Stuart, as opposed to the romanticized Bonnie Prince Charlie, was not a nice guy. He was often a pretty seedy and slimy man. He was known for his grace and charm as a youth, but that only masked many dark facets of his personality. Among other things, he liked to beat up women. Most notoriously, his wife, Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedden. He married her when she was nineteen and he was fifty-one. Obsessively controlling, he set up a system of alarm bells around her bed at night to alert him if she tried to sneak off to see a lover. He beat her up so often, that she begged the pope for help. She was finally freed of his clutches when they separated after twelve years of marriage.