Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Walkinshaw, Clementina

Clementine Walkinshaw in the ODNB.

WALKINSHAW, CLEMENTINA (1726?–1802), mistress of Prince Charles Edward, the youngest of the ten daughters of John Walkinshaw of Barrowfield and Gamlachie, Glasgow, and of Catherine Paterson, was perhaps born and brought up at Rome. Her father had fought at Sheriffmuir and been taken prisoner, but had escaped from Stirling Castle and joined the Chevalier de St. George at Bar-le-Duc. By him he was sent as a secret agent to Vienna, and in 1719 he helped to effect the liberation from Innsbruck of the Princess Clementina Sobieski, the chevalier's plighted bride. In recognition of this service the princess stood sponsor to his daughter, who was baptised as a catholic by the names of Clémentine-Marie-Sophie. All this is mainly on the authority of a 'Mémoire' addressed to Louis XV in 1774 by Miss Walkinshaw's daughter, It is printed in the 'Œuvres Complettes' of the Duc de St. Simon (1791, xii. 191–211), but could not possibly be by St. Simon, as Von Reumont and others assume, for it relates to events five to ten years after his death.

Clementina and Prince Charles Edward seem to have met first either at her father's house, Shawfield, in Glasgow, or at Bannockburn House, the seat of her Jacobite uncle, Sir Hugh Paterson, bart., where the prince spent most of January 1746. He is said to have ‘obtained from her a promise to follow him wherever Providence might lead, if he failed in his attempt;’ and, having through an uncle, ‘General Gram’ (probably Sir John Graeme), procured a nomination to a noble chapter of canonesses in Belgium (Mémoire), she rejoined him at Avignon in 1749 (Ewald), at Ghent in 1750 (Pichot), or more probably at Paris in the summer of 1752 (Lang). For several years she shared his wandering fortunes, passing for his wife under such aliases as Johnson and Thompson, and moving about to Ghent, Liège, Basel, Bouillon, and other places. The connection was viewed by Jacobites with disfavour and mistrust, for Clementina had a sister Catherine, who was bedchamber-woman and then housekeeper at Leicester House to George III's mother, the princess dowager of Wales, and to whom Clementina was thought to communicate the gravest secrets. Their feelings of suspicion and dislike are vividly depicted by Scott in his novel ‘Redgauntlet.’ Clementina's sister must have been twenty years the elder if the third Earl of Bute (1713–1792) ‘first came up from Scotland to Lonnon, seated on her lap’ (Sir Walter Scott, Letters, ii. 208–9). Remonstrances, however, by Macnamara and ‘Jemmy’ Dawkins proved unavailing. Clementina perhaps bore Prince Charles a son, who is said to have been baptised by a non-juring clergyman (afterwards Bishop Gordon), and who must have died in infancy. A daughter Charlotte was certainly baptised as a catholic at Liège on 29 Oct. 1753, not long before which date ‘Pickle the Spy’ writes word to the English government that ‘Mrs. Walkingshaw is now at Paris big with child; the Pretender keeps her well, and seems to be very fond of her.’ According, however, to Lord Elcho's manuscript journal, she soon, like the prince, took to drink, and once in a low Paris restaurant to his ‘Vous êtes une coquine,’ retorted with ‘Your Royal Highness is unworthy to bear the name of a gentleman.’ As, indeed, he was, if, according to the same spiteful source, he really ‘often gave her as many as fifty thrashings with a stick during the day.’ Dr. King, who also was prejudiced, is much to the same effect: ‘She had no elegance of manners; and as they had both contracted an odious habit of drinking, so they exposed themselves very frequently, not only to their own family, but to all their neighbours. They often quarreled, and sometimes fought; they were some of those drunken scenes which probably occasioned the report of his madness’ (Anecdotes, p. 207).

Anyhow, on 22 July 1760 Clementina fled with her daughter from Bouillon to Paris, at the instigation, says the ‘Mémoire,’ of the prince's father, ‘James III,’ who allowed her ten thousand livres a year. On James's death in 1766 this allowance was first cut off, and then by Cardinal York reduced to one half on her signing an affidavit that there had been no marriage between her and his brother. The Comtesse d'Albertroff, as she now styled herself, withdrew hereupon to a convent at Meaux. Of her last days little definite is known. She died at Freiburg in Switzerland in November 1802, after ten years' sojourn there, and left 12l. sterling, six silver spoons, a geographical dictionary, and three books of piety, bequeathing a louis apiece to each of her relatives, ‘should any of them still remain, as a means of discovering them.’ Horace Walpole was certainly wrong in writing (26 Aug. 1784) that she died in a Paris convent ‘a year or two ago;’ in September 1799 she was still in receipt of three thousand crowns a year from the cardinal. A portrait by Allan Ramsay is in possession of Mr. James Maxtone-Graham of Cultoquhey.

In July 1784 Miss Walkinshaw's daughter was living en pension in a Paris convent as Lady Charlotte Stuart, when Prince Charles, who had vainly attempted to recover her in 1760, sent for his ‘chère fille’ to come to him at Florence, and legitimated her as Duchess of Albany by a deed registered on 6 Sept. by the Paris parliament. She reached Florence on 5 Oct., and on 2 Dec. moved with her father to Rome. Amiable and sensible, she soothed his last three years, and endeared herself also to her uncle, Cardinal York, who at first had denied her the title of duchess. She survived her father by only twenty months, dying at Bologna on 14 Nov. 1789 of the results of a fall from her horse. The story of her marriage to a Swedish Count Rohenstart [see under Stuart, John Sobieski] seems an absolute fiction.

[Lives of Prince Charles Edward by Pichot (4th edit. Paris, 1846), Klose (Leipzig, 1842, Engl. transl. 1845), and A. C. Ewald (2 vols. 1875); Tales of the Century, Edinb. 1847, by John Sobieski and Charles Edward Stuart, pp. 78–128, to be used with extreme caution; memoirs of Sir R. Strange and A. Lumsden (2 vols. 1855), by Dennistoun, i. 193, ii. 215, 319–25; Die Gräfin von Albany (2 vols. Berlin, 1860), by Alfred von Reumont; Dr. William King's Political and Literary Anecdotes, 1818; Scott's Redgauntlet, ed. A. Lang, 1894; Burns's Bonie Lass of Albanie, 1787, and W. Wallace's notes thereon in his edition of Chambers's Life of Burns, 1896, ii. 178–80; Prof. W. Jack on Burns's Unpublished Commonplace Book in Macmillan's Mag. for May 1879, pp. 33–42; Wariston's Diary and Letters by Mrs. Grant of Laggan (Scot. Hist. Soc. 1896, p. 328); Horace Walpole's Letters, viii. 492, 496, 498, 501, 522, 536; forty-four letters from Prince Charles Edward, the Duchess of Albany, and the Countess of Albany to Gustavus III of Sweden (Forty-third Annual Report of Deputy-Keeper of Public Records, 1882, App. ii. pp. 21–3); A. H. Millar's Castles and Mansions of Renfrewshire, s.v. ‘Walkinshaw’ (Glasgow, 1889); his Quaint Bits of Old Glasgow (1887); Lang's Pickle the Spy, 1897, with a likeness of Miss Walkinshaw from a miniature, and Companions of Pickle, 1898.]

F. H. G.