Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Bonnie Lad Ain't No Charlie

Oh I'm not the Young Pretender
The Galleries say it's not true, ooh, ooh, oooh
The brushes delicate touch, has fooled you so much
I'm Henry and no-one could tell.

Yeah the news today is that what has for many years been widely regarded as the official portrait of the Charles Edward Stuart, aka Bonnie Prince Charlie isn't him after all. The National Galleries of Scotland who purchased the painting by French master Maurice-Quentin La Tour for £22,000 in 1994 is in fact that of his younger brother Henry Benedict Stuart, later a cardinal.

The Galleries had denied claims by art expert Bendor Grosvenor that for a number of years that it wasn't Charles but Henry even citing Stuart family portrait expert Dr Edward Corp of the University of Toulouse. However, the expert has changed his mind. The younger Stuart went on to be a Cardinal and the sitter in this portrait is wearing armour, hardly the attire of a man of the cloth. But at the time of the painting Henry was leading a naval expedition in support of his brother's Jacobite cause.

The image has appeared on the cover of Fitzroy Maclean's biography of Bonnie Prince Charlie and is also his picture in the Oxford Dictionary of Biography.

But it does leave the question what is the official picture of Bonnie Prince Charlie. All is revealed exclusively below.

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