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Saturday, 13 April, 2002, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Historian's royal link claim
The Glenfinnan monument
A Scottish monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie
An art historian is claiming to be the direct descendant of legendary hero Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Peter Pininski says he traced his family tree back to the time of Charlie and the Jacobite uprising of 1745, which was the last Scottish campaign on English soil.

Many historians have presumed that the Stuart dynastic line died out in the mid-19th century, but Mr Peninski claims in a book that he is linked to the infamous Stuart heir to the throne.

Bonnie Prince Charlie
Bonnie Prince Charlie: "Secret affair"
He has set out his case in The Stuarts' Last Secret, published by Tuckwell Press.

Eveline Cruickshanks, a historian and chairman of the Royal Stuart Society, said: "Mr Peninski gave a lecture in Edinburgh on his claims and I think they're genuine. He has done a lot of original research."

Mr Pininski, 45, who lives in Poland with his father and son, says he has unearthed documents indicating he is a descendant of Marie-Victoire, who was an illegitimate, and secret, granddaughter of Bonnie Prince Charlie, who was said to be completely unaware of her when he died in 1788.

Mr Pininski, who searched 22 archives in seven countries, has found baptismal, marriage and death certificates for her, and the baptismal certificate of a son she bore in 1806.

Ms Cruickshanks said: "It's very interesting in the sense that Bonnie Prince Charlie has always been a romantic figure, so it's rather nice to find that there are actually people descended from him.

"It does not make any difference to the succession of the Crown or anywhere else, but it's of interest because there are so many bogus claims.

Mr Pininski family trace came up with; Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) (1720-1788) - Charlotte Stuart, Duchess of Albany (1753-1789) - Marie-Victoire de Rohan, the demoiselle de Thorigny (1779-1836) - Antime, Chevalier de Nikorowicz (1806-1852) - Countess Julia Pininska (1833-1893) - Count Alexander Pininski (1864-1902) - Count Mieczyslas Pininski (1895-1945) - Count Stanislas Pininski (1925-) - Peter Pininski (1956-).

See also:

22 Nov 01 | England
Bonnie Prince Charlie chair sold
01 May 00 | Scotland
Historical treasures unveiled
15 Nov 99 | Scotland
National Trust's flagship HQ opens
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