Outlander: The True Story Behind Bonnie Prince Charlie and What Happened to Him


After the battle of Culloden in the third season of Outlander, viewers were wondering about the fate of Carlos Eduardo Estuardo or also known as “Bonnie Prince Charlie” who escaped after the defeat. But, the sixth installment of the show has again touched on what happened after he had escaped disguised as a woman to Skye and to France.

The Starz television series Outlander is based on Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling book series of the same name, which is known for weaving history with time travel. With episode 5 of the sixth season the disguised escape of Prince Charlie (played by Andrew Gower) was shown. And while the show sticks closely to the story in its depiction of the historical event, there are plenty of details after the escape from it that Outlander leaves out.

Outlander season 6 episode 5 opens on the beach with Bonnie Prince Charlie dressed as Flora MacDonald’s (Shauna MacDonald) accomplice maid. With her help, Prince Charles escapes after spending months in hiding following the Jacobite rebellion that led to the Battle of Culloden. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape to the Isle of Skye is one of the most famous stories in Scottish history.

However, the story of Prince Charles does not end with his escape, according to the story the Prince would continue his plans for the throne with attempts that led to another failed opportunity during the Seven Years’ War, before his death in 1788.

According to the true story of Bonnie Prince Charlie, he and Flora MacDonald set sail in a small boat from Benbecula on June 27, 1746, not for the mainland but for Skye, landing at Kilmuir at what is now called Rudha Phrionnsa (Prince’s Point) . It was from there that the Prince was able to secure passage to France, where he lived until the peace between Britain and France in 1748 forced him off French soil.

Following his departure from France, Bonnie Prince Charlie wandered Europe seeking supporters for his cause and even secretly visited London in 1750 in another failed attempt at rebellion, known today as the Elibank Plot. But, it wasn’t until the Seven Years’ War in 1759 that Prince Charles got another real shot at the throne when the French Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Duc de Choiseul, summoned him to a secret meeting in Paris.

The Duke of Choiseul planned to use the Jacobites to lead the French invasion with Bonnie Prince Charlie at the helm, but when the Prince arrived late and drunk for the meeting, the Prime Minister decided to abandon the plan due to lack of respect and trust. The Prince then moved to Italy, the land of his birth, where he continued to binge until he died in 1788 of a stroke at the age of 67.