WATCH: Outlander 'wholly inaccurate' on Bonnie Prince Charlie, says author
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A book published to mark the 300th anniversary of the birth of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, says modern depictions of the Jacobite are inaccurate.
Calling for a reappraisal of the prince's character and career, author Michael Nevin says narratives of Bonnie Prince Charlie, such as those in Amazon Prime series Outlander are based on 18th century propaganda.
Mr Nevin, a professional economist, chairman of the The 1945 Association and collector of Jacobite memorabilia, has written Reminiscences of a Jacobite: The Untold Story of the Rising of 1745, to be published by Birlinn on Hogmanay, Thursday December 31.
The book draws on the Prince's own previously unpublished account as well as a number of other first-hand accounts in seeking to understand the thinking of the man who led the Rising of 1745.
Mr Nevin says that the depiction of the Prince in narratives such as Outlander are "wholly inaccurate".
"Outlander shows the Prince as a small man with a high-pitched voice, representing him as a religious fanatic who recklessly launched a campaign which had no chance of success," he said. "In fact, he stood at 5'10" – tall by the standards of the day – and was a powerful orator, as shown by the call to arms to his men on the eve of the battle of Prestonpans.
"He was a highly intelligent individual who advocated religious tolerance and had a clear and credible strategy to regain the throne, which might well have succeeded had the Jacobite leadership followed his plea to continue the advance onto London from Derby."
The picture we have of the Prince today, he says, is largely based on false propaganda fabricated by his enemies.
Mr Nevin continued: "In recent years, I have worked in South Africa, where a process of peace and reconciliation was initiated by Nelson Mandela after the apartheid era, and in Rwanda, where a similar process of truth and reconciliation has brought the nation together since the 1994 genocide." "What is remarkable is that, even now, 300 years after the Prince's birth, no similar process has occurred with respect to the Rising of 1745, leaving an unresolved legacy of misunderstanding and bitterness.
"Perhaps the Prince’s tercentenary is an appropriate moment to begin such a process."
Bonnie Prince Charlie was born on Hogmanay of 1720.