AN author has called for a re-appraisal of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s character and career, criticising the way he is portrayed in modern culture including Outlander.

Michael Nevin’s book Reminiscences of a Jacobite: The Untold Story of the Rising of 1745 will be published on Hogmanay and marks the anniversary of the prince’s birth 300 years ago.

It draws on the prince’s own previously unpublished account as well as a number of other first-hand accounts in seeking to understand the thinking of the man who led the 1745 Rising.

Nevin, who is chairman of The 1745 Association, says that the depiction of the prince in narratives such as Outlander is wholly inaccurate.

“Outlander shows him as a small man with a high-pitched voice, representing him as a religious fanatic who recklessly launched a campaign which had no chance of success,” he says. “In fact, he stood at 5ft 10ins – tall by the standards of the day – and was a powerful orator, as shown by the call to arms to his men on the eve of the battle of Prestonpans.

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“He was a highly intelligent individual who advocated religious tolerance and had a clear and credible strategy to regain the throne, which might well have succeeded had the Jacobite leadership followed his plea to continue the advance onto London from Derby.”

The picture we have of the prince today, Nevin says, is largely based on false propaganda fabricated by his enemies.

Nevin said: “In recent years, I have worked in South Africa, where a process of peace and reconciliation was initiated by Nelson Mandela after the apartheid era, and in Rwanda, where a similar process of truth and reconciliation has brought the nation together since the 1994 genocide,” Nevin said.

“What is remarkable is that, even now, 300 years after the prince’s birth, no similar process has occurred with respect to the Rising of 1745, leaving an unresolved legacy of misunderstanding and bitterness. Perhaps the prince’s tercentenary is an appropriate moment to begin such a process.”

Reminiscences of a Jacobite: The Untold Story of the Rising of 1745 by Michael Nevin is published by Birlinn.

A talk given by the author earlier this month to introduce the book and answer questions about it from a has been uploaded by Birlinn on its YouTube channel, which can be found at by searching “Birlinn Books” on the site.