Thursday, 28 January 2010
Baldwin the Jacobite
Stanley Baldwin, prime minister of Britain on several occasions in the period between the First and Second World Wars, liked to claim association with the Scottish Jacobite rebels of the eighteenth century. His mother was Louisa Macdonald, descended from the Skye branch of the family, whose forbears settled near Eniskillen in Northern Ireland after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.
On one occasion Baldwin even gave details of his Jacobite ancestry in a speech in the House of Commons;
My mother's family fled from the Highlands after having been out with Prince Charles in 1745. I remember that, in my early days, it was with great difficulty that we could stand up when the band was playing God Save the King, because we had a Hanoverian and not a Jacobite King.
I rather suspect that there was quite a lot of romantic embellishment in the stories related to young Stanley by his mother. What she clearly neglected to tell him was that her branch of the clan, the Macdonalds of Sleat, remained loyal to George II, while the rest of Clan Donald followed Charlie across the heather. Well, never mind; at least he managed to chase one Hanoverian from the throne!