He had come to meet his army of supporters and to stake the claim of his father – James Francis Edward Stuart, the ‘Old Pretender’ – to the thrones of Great Britain and Ireland.
Charles arrived at Glenfinnan with just a handful of supporters, and there was no one waiting for him. He must have felt a sense of despair but then the Highlanders began to appear; later that day, there were over 1,000 men by his side.
Satisfied that he had enough support to begin his campaign, the Prince climbed the hill behind where the visitor centre now stands and raised his father’s Standard. And so the final Jacobite Rising began.
With his ambition set on London, the Prince pursued his campaign all the way south to Derby, but here the Jacobites decided to turn around and head back to Scotland. The ’45 Rising came to a bitter and bloody end on 16 April 1746 with the crushing defeat at Culloden, near Inverness.
After spending a few months on the run, Charles was smuggled aboard a French frigate; the Prince’s Cairn at Loch nan Uamh in Lochaber marks the spot where he last set foot on Scottish land.
Glenfinnan Monument was commissioned in 1811 by Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale, who came from a family with Jacobite sympathies. The architect was James Gillespie Graham, famed for designing part of Edinburgh’s New Town.