Outlander’s depiction of Bonnie Prince Charlie “a travesty”

The portrayal of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in popular television series Outlander has been described as a “travesty” by Jacobite-era historians and enthusiasts.

The 1745 Association, which works to safeguard the history and heritage of the period, said the popular characterisation of Bonnie Prince Charlie as an “effeminate weakling” was a hangover from the 18th Century and must be challenged.

The group will examine the “caricature” of the Prince at the annual NTS/1745 Association Lecture on the eve of the Battle of Culloden anniversary in April.

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Details of the ‘physical reality” of the Prince’s time in Scotland will be examined during the lecture as well as the hundreds of miles he navigated both during the campaign and after Culloden, when he spent five months on the run in the Highlands and Islands.

The characterisation of Bonnie Prince Charlie in Outlander as an "effete weakling" has been described as a "travesty". PIC: Starz.
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Chairman Michael Nevin said the Prince had been depicted as an “effete” figure in both the 1964 docudrama Culloden and more recently in the hugely popular television series Outlander.

Mr Nevin said: “Whatever you may think of the Prince’s abilities or otherwise as a military commander, these portrayals are a travesty of the man he must have been.

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“The popular picture of the Prince as an effeminate weakling is a hangover from eighteenth century Hanoverian propaganda. There is no way that such a man could have mobilised the support he did, or completed the gruelling odyssey from the Highlands to Derby and back.”

Speaking at this year’s lecture will be Steve Lord, author of Walking with Charlie, who has researched the journeys that the Prince made across Scotland during the 1745 rising.

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Lord has travelled many of the routes taken by Prince Charles over some of the most arduous terrain in the country.

Lord will look at 10 journeys made by the Prince, including the 16.5 miles that he crossed between Dalilea to Glenfinnan to raise the Jacobite standard on August 19, 1745.

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Within days, the Prince was marching 20 miles with the Jacobite army from Glensulaig and Fassfern to Glen Loy Lodge in a bid to avoid the Hanoverian forces encamped at Fort William.

Historian and author Maggie Craig agreed the Prince had been unfairly characterised.

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She said: “Charles has got an extremely bad press. I think a lot of it has come from propaganda of the time that has had very long legs. I think it is a false image of him.He rode on horseback and marched with his men. He liked to be one of the boys.”

Starz, the production company for Outlander, has been contacted for a comment.