28 Jun: Bonnie Prince Betty

When Jacobite heir Bonnie Prince Charlie made his escape from the British Army on 28th June, 1746, he did so in bizarre style – disguised in drag as Irish spinning-maid ‘Betty Burke’.

With a £30,000 bounty on his head, Charles had to rely on the support of strangers – in this case 24 year-old Flora McDonald, who would later serve time in the Tower of London for having assisted him in the escape, memorably documented in the Skye Boat Song.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why Charles picked this moment to attempt to conquer England from the North; consider why he succeeded, in escaping despite the enormous bounty on his head and his very poor disguise; and ask whether Flora and Charlie’s relationship was entirely platonic… 

Further Reading:

• ‘On this day 1746: Young Pretender escapes Benbecula’ (The Scotsman, 2017): https://www.scotsman.com/whats-on/arts-and-entertainment/day-1746-young-pretender-escapes-benbecula-1446281

• ‘Flora MacDonald: The Jacobite Heroine Who Features In Outlander’ (HistoryExtra, 2022): https://www.historyextra.com/period/georgian/flora-macdonald-who-life-north-carolina/

• ‘Skye Boat Song – Outlander Theme Song’ (Choral Scholars of University College Dublin, 2015):

… and there’s even more on this subject for our supporters on the show. As we discover in this week’s bonus bit, the Jacobite line did NOT end with Bonnie Prince Charles – there’s STILL a current pretender to the throne. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts or join us on Patreon to hear it! https://patreon.com/Retrospectors