General Charles Edward Stuart, Count Roehenstart

General Charles Edward Stuart, Count Roehenstart, was the illegitimate son of Charlotte, Duchess of Albany, by Prince Ferdinand of Rohan, Archbishop of Bordeaux; the assumed name of "Roehenstart" is a combination of the names Rohan and Stuart. As the illegitimate son of the illegitimate daughter of Charles III, Roehenstart had no right to the English and Scottish thrones whatsoever.

There is enough evidence in the letters of Charlotte to her mother Clementina Walkinshaw to conclude that Charlotte bore three children to Ferdinand de Rohan: Aglae, born circa 1778; a second daughter (commonly called Marie, but without any basis), born circa 1780; and Charles Edward, born probably in June 1784, in Paris. It was Charles Edward's birth which delayed Charlotte's trip to Florence in 1784 to be re-united with her father, Charles III. Charlotte kept the existence of these children a secret from her father, and probably from her uncle as well.

The needs of the three children were maintained by Charlotte's mother, Clementina Walkinshaw. In spite of his parentage, Charles Edward was raised a Protestant. During the French Revolution, he was taken to Germany, where he was educated at the expense of his father. He joined the Russian Army, eventually entering the suite of the Commander-in-Chief, Duke Alexander of Wurttemberg. Between 1812 and 1814 Charles Edward was in North America. In 1816 he travelled to Scotland and then to England, hoping to obtain part of the dowry of Queen Mary Beatrice (wife of King James II and VII).

Charles Edward married the daughter of a French emigré. After her death in 1821, Charles Edward married an Englishwoman; by neither of these marriages did he have any issue.

Charles Edward returned to the Continent where for 25 years he fought in the Austrian service, eventually obtaining the rank of general. He returned to Scotland in 1854 where on October 28th he died in a carriage accident. His remains lie in the churchyard of Dunkeld Cathedral.

Until recently it was almost universally believed that the two sisters of Charles Edward both died unmarried during the 1820's. But recent research suggests that the elder daughter married several times and has descendants still living in Poland.

Further reading:

Sherburn, George. Roehenstart: A Late Stuart Pretender. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1960. The standard biography of Charles Edward; there is no more recent scholarship. Online edition.

Pininski, Peter. The Stuarts' Last Secret: The Missing Heirs of Bonnie Prince Charlie. East Linton, Scotland: Tuckwell Press, 2002. A well-researched study showing fairly conclusively that the Demoiselle de Thorigny was the elder daughter of the Duchess of Albany and sister of Charles Edward, and that she has descendants today.

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