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EDITIONS
Sunday, 1 December, 2002, 03:58 GMT
Historic brooch to be auctioned
Artwork of Bonnie Prince Charlie
Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated at Culloden
A piece of jewellery which Bonnie Prince Charlie is thought to have given to Flora Macdonald is set to go under the hammer.

The diamond and blue enamelled brooch, in the shape of a key, is thought to be worth up to 6,000.

It contains a lover's knot of a couple's hair, a red enamelled heart at its base and the words "j'ouvre" outlined along the length of the key.


There is no current evidence of Charles and Flora's relationship lasting longer than his few days on Skye, or of them being lovers

Sebastian Pryke
Lyon and Turnbull
The item will be sold on 5 December by Edinburgh-based auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull.

The company's Sebastian Pryke said: "It is hard to draw any firm conclusions from the history of the key other than that it has had a long association with Flora.

"The relics incontestably associated with Charles' flight from Skye are all of an uncompromisingly plain nature, and there is no current evidence of Charles and Flora's relationship lasting longer than his few days on Skye, or of them being lovers.

"Whether Charles sent it to her as a token of appreciation, whether it was given to her by a thankful Jacobite or admirer, or whether it contains his or her hair can only remain a matter of speculation."

Parted company

Flora Macdonald helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape from the Isle of Uist, following defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746.

The prince, who had been on the run for two months before he met Flora, was disguised as her "Irish Maid" Betty Burke.

They rowed to Skye by boat and she helped the prince escape to Portree, where they parted company - and never met again.

After the prince's escape, Flora was taken to London and held in protective custody until July 1747.

Lover's knot

However, money was quickly raised to enable her to return to Scotland.

The key was sold in 1969 as part of a collection of 10 Stuart relics formed in the 19th century by Miss Farquhar of Lowndes.

It was said to be "one of a pair exchanged by Prince Charles Edward and Flora Macdonald" and the lover's knot was believed to be made from the couple's hair.

The brooch had been exhibited in London in 1886, described as a Key Brooch of Prince Charles Edward, given to Flora Macdonald.

See also:

11 Nov 02 | England
22 Nov 01 | England
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