Random Jacobite History Lesson Part 1

I listened to an Outlander-related podcast today, where they explained the whole Jacobite movement which is a big part of Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber. It occurred to me that, since my friend Jess is reading Dragonfly in bits and pieces–and I’m the history nerd in my triumvirate of besties–that I’mma try to explain the Jacobite rebellion.

Then maybe Nali, who somehow made it through Wolf Hall although I quit reading it at about 25% through–will explain what the heck that book was about to me.

So here goes.

We’ll start with this guy, Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Nice wig, huh? Charles II became king in 1660–this was a big deal because his father, Charles I, had been beheaded in 1649 and then England descended into civil war and Oliver Cromwell took over, then he died and nobody liked Cromwell’s son, so they got Charles II to come back from France and be king.

Charles II had no kids, so the throne passed to his brother James II (of England) and VII (of Scotland; the numbers are different because Scotland had, like, no other name they used for their kings).

Anyway, James became king. He had married an Englishwoman and had two daughters–Mary and Anne. Like his brother, James also grew up in France and became attracted to the Catholic religion and converted, which was a huge deal to the Protestants of England. After all, it hadn’t been very long since Henry VIII and his descendants were doing this to Protestants:

But Charles II insisted that Mary and Anne be raised Protestant and Mary married William of Orange, a fellow Protestant, and for a while, people were okay with James becoming the next king because it looked likely that one of his Protestant kids would take over after him.

And then James married his second wife–a Catholic. Now, the English nobles and Parliament were super paranoid about James, a Catholic, becoming the next king with his Catholic queen and his potential Catholic heirs. But initially, James was a reasonably popular king.

Then he started doing some policy reversals and crossed Parliament and began spouting things about the divine right of kings–and then his wife had a baby boy and this is when shit hits the fan.

Stay tuned for part two.

2 thoughts on “Random Jacobite History Lesson Part 1

  1. Ooh, fun!! Very entertaining! I do wished history class had talked more about PEOPLE and their actions and less about POLICY with the people mentioned in afterthought. It's so much more interesting this way.


  2. Oh, thanks! I was always more interested in historical people, too, as opposed to more big sweeping things. I mean, I was interested in the big sweeping stuff, too, but it's easier to grasp if you look at it from a personal point of view, I think.


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