BENEDICT STUART, DUKE OF YORK, 1725-1807
Second Son James III (The Old Pretender)
Final Jacobite Heir
to the Throne of England
hallmarked this Hanoverian Pattern Silver Tablespoon, dating to circa 1745,
would appear to have
been part of a suite of silver once in the possession of
Benedict Thomas Edward Maria Clement Francis Xavier Stuart, Duke of York
(born 6th March 1725
died 13th July 1807).
Cardinal Henry, Duke
of York was the second son of
James Francis Edward
Stuart (The Old Pretender) and Maria Clementina Sobieska.
His elder brother
was Charles Edward Stuart (The Young Pretender or Bonnie Prince Charlie).
When Bonnie Prince
Charlie died in 1788,
the Cardinal Duke of York became the fourth and final
to claim the
thrones of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland,
although he never
sought to make any such claim.
He appeared to be
content in being a prince of the church spending his life in the Papal States,
career in the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church,
rising to become the
Dean of the College of Cardinals and Cardinal-Bishop of Ostia and Velletri.
On his death in 1807, he was succeeded in all his claimed British rights by his
nearest blood-relative and friend,
Charles Emmanuel IV
neither asserted nor renounced his Jacobite claims.
Given the date of
the manufacture of this tablespoon it may be presumed
that it was
part of a much larger suite of Stuart Royal silver,
by the engraving of the Royal Crown upon it.
This suite of silver
undoubtedly followed the Stuarts into exile to France;
and later, when in possession
of the Cardinal Duke of York
was further engraved
with both his name and his cardinal's hat.
(Heraldry Courtesy of John Tunesi, United Kingdom)
Portraits Above, Henry Benedict Stuart,:
Left : Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1746-7, a portrait long thought to be Charles Edward Stuart
Right : Anton Raphael Mengs (Circle of), "Cardinal York", c1750