The Last Jacobite Heroine by Euan Macpherson is a historical novel based on the life of Lady Anne, who famously raised up to 500 clansmen to fight in the 1745 rising while her husband, Angus, the 22nd clan chief, fought on the side British Government.
Her story has come to symbolise the divisiveness of the rising as well as the high passions fuelled by the Jacobite cause.
Macpherson said he was in “no doubt” that Lady Anne, then in her early twenties, and Bonnie Prince Charlie had physical relations following the retreat from Derby.
The pair rode north together following the Battle of Falkirk in January 1746 where Lady Anne’s men had assisted in the defeat of British Government forces.
The Jacobite army split in two as soldiers made their way to the Highlands with Lady Anne and the Prince riding ahead through the Great Glen to Moy Hall, the seat of the Clan Mackintosh clan near Inverness, where he and a few of his men were entertained for the night.
British Government forces, led by Lord Loudon, caught wind of the Prince’s presence at Moy and planned a surprise attack on the party.
But when a young friend of the family went to raise the alarm at Moy, Bonnie Prince Charlie could not be found and was not in his bedroom, Macpherson said.
Macpherson addded: “You have this 15-year-old boy running cross country to warn the prince about the attack, which became know as the Rout of Moy. When he goes to banging on the prince’s bedroom door, there is no answer.
Macpherson said: “So where is he? In my opinion there is no doubt that he was in another bedroom with Lady Anne.
“I can’t prove it, the evidence is circumstantial, but I believe it very strongly that he was in her bedroom.”
The Rout of Moy ended with the Prince climbing out a window and running away in his nightshirt ‘without even having his shoes buckled’, Macpherson said.
The remaining Jacobite men in residence at Moy, some say there were just four and others up to a dozen, managed to see off Loudon’s forces by pretending there were far more soldiers in their company. Clan names were shouted and targes were beaten to scare the British Army, which then retreated.
Macpherson said: “You wonder what was going through Lady Anne’s head at this time. It would have been such a dishnonour for the Prince to have been captured while at Moy. And of course the consequences for Lady Anne would have been grave.”
It is known that Bonnie Prince Charlie gave Lady Anne a large piece of plaid as a thank you for her support.
Known as the Moy Tartan, a genuine piece of the cloth, which was widely copied in the 19th Century, was recently purchased for £3,000 at auction and will remain in Scotland.
The author described Lady Anne as a brave and courageous woman who has also been regarded for her charm and looks in several accounts.
Lady Anne was arrested at Moy following the Battle of Culloden and imprisoned in Inverness for around six weeks. While other female prisoners were being tortured for information, Lady Anne drank tea with the guards.
One soldier stationed in the prison wrote in a letter home: “I drank tea yesterday with Lady Mackintosh. She is really very pretty woman, pity she is a rebel’.
Lieutenant General Henry Hawley, known as Hangman Hawley for his treatment of Jacobite fugitives, became infuriated with the soft approach taken with Lady Anne.
“Damn that woman, I’ll honour her with mahogany gallows and silken cords,” he reportedly said.
Lady Anne was released from Inverness Prison without charge into the custody of her husband, with the two continuing with married life.
Macpherson said he had some sympathy for her husband Angus, a captain in 43rd Highlanders, otherwise known as the Black Watch, who was captured near Dornoch in March 1746.
The author added: “Lady Anne is living by her heart but Angus is much more of his head. He is trying to do what is right for his clan, which he inherited following the death of his brother. There were debts to deal with and I think he probably knew that there was only ever going to be one winner.”
Following his capture, Bonnie Prince Charlie released Captain Mackintosh into the custody of his wife, who was the daughter of the Clan Chief of Farquharson whose lands spanned Deeside.
After being presented to Lady Anne, she said to her husband ‘your servant, captain’.
He responded ‘your servant, colonel” with Lady Anne to become known as Colonel Anne thereafter.
Macpherson believes some may question whether Lady Anne can be called “The Last Jacobite Heroine” given the role Flora MacDonald played in smuggling the Prince out of Scotland.
He added: “I don’t want to put down Flora’s achievements. She does save the Prince’s life but she was much more passive than Lady Anne, who raised 500 men to fight and led her clan.”
The Last Jacobite Heroine by Euan Macpherson is published by Menzies and Wood and is available now.