The beautiful funerary monument to the Stuarts, in St Peter's Basilica, commemorates the last three members of the Royal House of Stuart: James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766, the 'Old Pretender'), his elder son Charles Edward Stuart (1720-88, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'), and his younger son Henry Benedict Stuart (1725-1807).
James was the son of James ll, king of England, who was deposed in the 'Glorious Revolution' of 1688. When his father died in 1701, James junior, who spent most of his life abroad, was hailed by Spain, France, and the Papacy, as King James III, the rightful ruler of England. 'King James III' died in Rome in 1766 and the succession of the Stuart line passed first to his eldest son, Charles, and after his death in 1788, to Henry, who died without issue in 1807.
The monument, which is the work of Antonio Canova (1757-1822), bears the portraits of the three men, who are buried in the crypt. At the base of the monument, two winged angels of death are in the act of extinguishing their torches.
The main inscription reads, in translation: 'To James III, son of King James II of Great Britain, to Charles Edward and to Henry, Dean of the Cardinal Fathers, sons of James III, the last of the Royal House of Stuart, 1819'.
The shorter inscription, above the closed door, is a quotation from the Book of Revelation (14:13): 'BEATI MORTUI QUI IN DOMINO MORIUNTUR' ('Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord', KJV).
Blogging about Rome:
its art, history and culture.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
small-group walking tours
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