Touring in advance of the opening of our major Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland, the sword and the targe or Highland shield were probably gifted to Prince Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, by James, 3rd Duke of Perth, a committed supporter of the Jacobite cause.
The son of James VIII and III, the exiled claimant to the thrones of Scotland, England and Ireland, Charles arrived in Scotland in the summer of 1745 intent on raising an army to regain the crown for this father. Others rallied by his side, culminating in the Battle of Culloden where the Jacobites suffered a crushing defeat.
Not weapons of war, but instead symbols of power and status, the sword and targe were discovered after the battle. The targe was recovered by a Jacobite clan chief, while tradition states that the sword was found by government troops and presented to their Commander, the Duke of Cumberland.
This is just one of the fascinating stories to feature in the major exhibition Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites, opening at the National Museum of Scotland on 23 June 2017.