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The Stuarts in exile

As we saw in the preceeding film with Viccy Coltman, James VII & II established his court in exile at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a few miles to the west of Paris and conveniently close to the French court at Versailles.

The château was the second most important royal palace in France, and had been occupied until recently by King Louis XIV of France, who was James VII & II’s first cousin.

Louis was determined to do all he could to secure James’s restoration. He gave him a generous annual pension, which financed the Stuart family and enabled the exiled king to maintain a large and impressive court of about a thousand people.

Click here to see an engraving of the exterior of the Château.

Most of the Jacobite courtiers were English, but the court also included Scots, Irish, French and Italians, who were Protestant as well as Catholic.

So many Jacobites arrived from the British Isles that James eventually had difficulty in maintaining them all.

  • Are you surprised at the scale and status of the exiled Stuart court?
  • What do you think about the range of nationalities of the Jacobite courtiers that flocked to the château?

In 1692, James’s wife Queen Mary gave birth to her second child, Princess Louise-Marie, and Louis XIV agreed to be her godfather.

The king and queen commissioned leading court painters and engravers to create portraits of themselves and their children, Prince James and Princess Louise-Marie, which were sent to loyal supporters in the British Isles to ensure they were not forgotten in exile.

Here is one example – in this painting Prince James Francis is seven and his sister Louise-Marie is three years old.

In the next step, Viccy Coltman looks in more detail at how the Jacobite court in exile used the images on material culture as propaganda.

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This article is from the free online course:

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

The University of Edinburgh