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Claimants to the Stuart Throne

The Stuart Pretenders
Jerry Jardine FSA(Scot.)

Most claimants to the throne of the Scottish Royal House of Stuart and its legacy emenate from the alleged dalliances or alleged marriages of  Charles Edward Stuart. Styled The Young Pretender by the British government ; King Charles III by the Jacobites and Bonnie Prince Charlie by the Romantics.

Most people of the Jacobite persuasion or even those with a passing  interest in the subject, consider the present Duke Francis  of Bavaria as the rightful King of Scotland, England, Ireland and France, Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay, Baron Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Great Steward of Scotland. (These are titles currently conferred upon Prince Charles, Prince of Wales)  They refer to him as King Francis II. He styles himself as Hereditary Prince of Bavaria or Duke of Bavaria. I have never heard of him making any pretensions to the Scottish throne himself. This gentleman’s name is Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria von Wittelsbach and  was born in Muncih in 1933. He is descended from Princess Henrietta Anne, youngest daughter of King James II & VII. This princess was passed over for the succession by the Act of Abjuration enacted by parliament in 1701. His lineage is impeccable and well documented.

The Duke is unmarried and childless. Therefore his heirs and successors are his younger brother Max-Emanuel who has five daughters, the eldest of which is Sophie. Sophie is married to Alois, Hereditary Prince of Lichtenstein and they have three children. The eldest being Joseph Wenzel. It would seem that the genes of the old House of Stuart may   be passed well into the twenty first century. There are other claimants who have come forward over the years, some stemming from tenuous connections to the daughter of the Jacobite King Charles III (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and his mistress Clementina Walkinshaw. They had a daughter, Charlotte Stuart.

The relationship between Charles and his daughter was not a harmonius one mainly because for most of his life he refused to recognize her. After the separation between Charles and his wife Louise, he took more of an interest in Charlotte and eventually a reconciliation was effected. He created her DUCHESS OF ALBANY, granted her the Order of the Thistle and legitimized her birth.

Now enters GENERAL CHARLES EDWARD STUART, COUNT ROEHENSTART who claims to be the son of Charlotte and Prince Ferdinand Rohan, Archbishop of Bordeaux. Charlotte certainly did have a romance with Prince Ferdinand and bore him three children. Aglae, Marie and Charles Edward. They were certainly illegitimate and therefore had no rights to the succession to the throne. The General had two sisters and two wives, none of whom had any children. He fought against Napoleon and then spent 25 years in the Austrian army finally attaining the rank of General. He returned to Scotland twice. The last time was in 1854 and unfortunately was killed in a carriage accident. He is buried in the churchyard at Dunkeld Cathedral.

Let us now look at the slightly bizarre case of THE INFANTA ALICIA OF SPAIN whose full name was Donna Alicia de Bourbon-Parma y de Hapsburgo, Infanta de Espana. She was the younger sister of Jacobite Queen Mary III & II. Her Jacobite reign was from 1824 to 1840. Alicia claimed that her sister's marriage was incestuous and illegal in the eyes of the Church of England. And so it was because Mary married her uncle, The Duke of Modena, who was about her own age.  However they were married in the Roman Catholic Church in Sardinia and that kind of union is quite legal in that church. Therefore if the marriage was legal in Sardinia, by diplomatic standards it was legal in all other European states, including Britain.
We can now take a look at one of  today’s modern claimants who styles himself PRINCE MICHAEL JAMES ALEXANDER STEWART, 7th Count of Albany, Duc d'Aquitaine, Comte de Blois, Head of the Sacred Kindred of St. Columba, Knight Grand Commander of the Temple of Jerusalem, Patron Grand Officer of the International Society of Commissioned officers of the Commonwealth, President of the European Council of Princes, Knight Grand Commander of the Royal Durrani Order of the Crown of Amanullah, Honarary President of of the Jewish Students of Glasgow University.(This is a partial list of his published titles).

"Prince Michael of Albany" claims descent through the alleged marriage of King Charles III to The Comtesse de Massilan in November 1785 in the church of Santi Apostoli in Rome. To date, no record of this marriage has been found.  He recites a line of succession that is too long to reproduce here. This line culminates with him through his Mother "Princess Renee Julienne". One has to wonder why it is not his mother that is claiming the succession as she is presumably still alive at this time!! Most historical scholars dismiss his claims as fictitious and totally without foundation not only with his version of the succession but also with some of the organizations that are listed earlier in this article.
A few years ago he made quite a splash in the USA and Canada by creating Knighthoods, Dame-hoods and other titles in the Order of the Temple of Jerusalem. These titles were not inexpensive. A number of American ladies and gentlemen were displaying their enameled crosses (similar to the cross of Malta) at the various Scottish Gatherings & Games held in those countries.

The gentleman maintains a very impressive web site. He seems to have been born in Brussells in 1958 and settled in Scotland in 1976. His website advocates Scottish independence within the framework of the European Union but does not claim to be a member of the Scottish National Party. It would be a constitutional monarchy similar to Denmark and Norway but without the House of Windsor. He advocates a quiet return of    the House of Stuart to a constitutional  monarchy of Scotland -   with guess who as the King ?

No doubt you can think of other claimants over the years such as The Sobieski-Stuarts and that naval fellow but these are a good start. Our thoughts turn to the number of Ladies and Gentlemen who profess to be the Chief of some dormant clan and offer an enormous amount of unverifiable facts to support their claims. I hope they still command our attention with their efforts in these areas for they are indeed very interesting and amusing.

First published in The Scottish Journal, May 1999

Electric Scotland Note: This page has been overtaken by subsequent events.



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