Monument to the Stuarts (1817-29) by Antonio Canova
The 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, the younger James, 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 figures extinguish their torches.
The main inscription reads: IACOBO III / IACOBI II MAGNAE BRIT REGIS FILIO / KAROLO EDVARDO / ET ENRICO DECANO PATRVM CARDINALIVM / IACOBI III FLIIS / REGIAE STIRPIS / STVARDIAE POSTREMIS / ANNO M DCCC XIX (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 MORTVI QVI IN DOMINO MORIVNTVR (Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, KJV).