Who was James Francis Stuart and why he ended in fort La Latte

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James - ©National Library of Scotland / CC-BY James - ©National Library of Scotland / CC-BY
Fort La Latte Fortification Tragic destiny James Francis Stuart

Struggle for the throne

November 1715. La Latte. Do you see this silhouette in the cold mist? James Francis Stuart embarked for Scotland. James who?? Stuart! The ″pretender″ for English throne… James Francis was the son of king of England and Ireland James II, born in 1688. His dad lost his crown and took shelter in France, after a rebellion. Hey, he was a Catholic in a Protestant land!

His son (also sheltered in France) went on with the struggle for the English throne, at that time belonging to his sister Mary II, Dutch king William's wife. His supporters (including king of France Louis XIV) even sacred James Francis king of England, under the name of James III, in the castle of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (near Paris)! In vain. So in November 1715, James Francis left France for Scotland… for a little secret landing, to rise up the country in his favour!

Scary night!

James Francis had to leave France from Saint-Malo (Brittany), but the sea was rough, so he had to stop in the fort La Latte. We know James’ lining conditions here thanks to the Diary of a man called Saint-Paul, who was with him. James arrived here one evening of November, brr: he said that this place was the scariest and ugliest one to spend a night! There was not enough wood to make a fire, no food and no comfort at all, of course...

One week later, James could finally leave La Latte, and go in Dunkerque (Northern France), then in Scotland. There, he tried a landing helped by Spain (and France, secretly). Tough luck, his enemies were waiting for him so he had to come back in France. Poor James! Weak, ill, he went in Lorraine (Eastern France) and in Rome, where he tried a last time to become the king of England. In vain...

And also!