Tuesday the 2nd of March

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Jacobite treasures on show at major Scottish exhibition

Rare treasures from Rome and the Vatican have gone on display in the UK for the first time as part of a major new exhibition about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites.

The artefacts are on show at the National Museum of Scotland as it hosts the largest exhibition on the subject to be held in more than 70 years.

More than 300 items drawn from across Britain and Europe are on public view at the museum in Edinburgh.

In addition to National Museums Scotland’s (NMS) own collections, 44 lenders are contributing to the five-month show, including the Royal Collection, the Musee de Louvre, the National Galleries and a number of private collections.

Among the attractions on display are three marble grave markers – formerly in St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City – for Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie), his younger brother Henry Benedict and their father James VIII of Scotland and III of England.

These have left Rome for the first time as loans from the Scots Pontifical College.

On loan from the Sacristy Museum is an elaborately-decorated gold communion set, inlaid with 130 diamonds, which has not been seen in the UK before.

Known as the York Chalice and Paten, it belonged to Henry (Cardinal York), who gifted it to the Church.

Experts believe the pieces illustrate the high standing in which the Stuarts were held in Roman society, where they held their exiled courts as Charles grew up.

David Forsyth, principal curator of the exhibition, said there is still a huge demand from the public to learn more about the Jacobites.

“Bonnie Prince Charlie is the one that people know about, but I think that the visitors will be quite taken aback by the longevity of the Jacobites’ cause,” he said.

The exhibition, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites, runs until 12th November.

Read more on this story in this week’s Universe, which is available now.

Picture: Assistant museum curator Adrienne Hynes placing the ‘lost’ Ramsay portrait of Charles, the only image of him taken during his time in Scotland. (Neil Hanna/National Museum of Scotland/PA).