James Francis Edward Stuart, a literal forgotten “would be”king to anyone except the more serious English historian or hobby historical reader. On this day in 1708, James landed at the Firth of Forth in Scotland to claim the throne of his father, the deposed James II. Thanks to Henry VIII’s requirement for a divorce, England had become anti-Catholic and would certainly not stand for another possible monarch following the religion. When James II had adequately annoyed the nobles with his religious based decisions steering in the Catholic direction, circumstances reached the boiling point. Enter the Glorious Revolution(1688) and the start of the co-rein of William III and Mary II (his daughter).
Fast forward 20 years and now the 20 year old Prince is off to claim his fathers old throne. His “fleet’ was intercepted by English patrols and his French support waned by their fear of beginning a sea battle with the powerful English navy. He never received much support, mostly due to his inability to be a credible ruler to the people. He was awkward, whiney and always so miserable. He probably wanted to be King more than anything in the world, but knew he had no possible chance of accomplishing it. As a result, he virtually relied on the generosity of the papal court where he would ultimately die at 77. He lived a life of splendor and although lived like a king, he was hardly satisfied.
Don’t worry, 1745 will bring another attempt by his son “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” the next pretender to the throne. On a final note, the current Jacobite (Stuart) pretender to the throne is Franz, Duke of Bavaria, or Francis II if he were to be king.
Check out other Pretenders to the past and current monarchies of the world.