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So the true King of England is alive after all

01:00 Mon 22nd Apr 2002 |

A. Steady on - we don't want that sort of treasonous talk on the Answerbank. I think you must be referring to claims in a book that a direct descendant of Bonnie Prince Charlie have been discovered - alive.< xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Q. Yes. What has happened

A. Peter Pininski, a London-born art historian, says he has traced his family tree back to the Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Young Pretender, hero of the Jacobite uprising of 1745.

Charles was son of James Edward Stuart (also known as the Old Pretender), who was son of James II, the last Stuart - and who fled his country in 1688. Charles died a broken man a century later (click here for the story of the Young Pretender and here for the Old Pretender's tale).

Q. Without an heir

A. No - he had an heir, but historians presumed the Stuart dynastic line died out in the mid-19th century. Peninski claims - in The Stuarts' Last Secret, published by Tuckwell Press on 25 April – that this theory is wrong.

Q. And where does he come in

A. Pininski, 45, who lives in Poland with his father and son, says he has unearthed documents indicating he is a descendant of Marie-Victoire, an illegitimate, and secret, granddaughter of Charles. Indeed the Bonnie Prince was unaware of her when he died in 1788.

Pininski searched 22 archives in seven countries and has found baptismal, marriage and death certificates for her, and the baptismal certificate of a son she bore in 1806.

Historian Eveline Cruickshanks, chairman of the Royal Stuart Society, said: 'It's very interesting in the sense that Bonnie Prince Charlie has always been a romantic figure, so it's rather nice to find that there are actually people descended from him.'

Q. So is there a new heir to the throne

A. Absolutely not. The Stuart succession passed legitimately to William and Mary. She was James II's daughter, any way.

Q. But Pininski must want to make a claim for the throne

A. No again. He gave a definite reply to the question that has haunted Scottish memories of the Young Pretender since his death: Will ye no come back again

'It is not my job to revive a crusade,' Pininksi said. 'My job is to see an undisclosed footnote to history published.'

Q. So how does the line trace

A. Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) (1720-1788); Charlotte Stuart, Duchess of Albany (1753-1789); Marie-Victoire de Rohan, the demoiselle de Thorigny (1779-1836); Antime, Chevalier de Nikorowicz (1806-1852); Countess Julia Pininska (1833-1893); Count Alexander Pininski (1864-1902); Count Mieczyslas Pininski (1895-1945); Count Stanislas Pininski (1925-); Peter Pininski (1956-).

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Steve Cunningham

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