Was this tartan frock coat worn by Bonnie Prince Charlie?

A 270-year-old tartan frock coat believed to have been worn by Bonnie Prince Charlie during his time in Scotland is to go on show for the first time this week.

Monday, 19th June 2017, 6:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th June 2017, 3:54 pm
Danielle Connolly, a textiles conservator at the National Museum of Scotland, with the 18th Century frock coat believed to have been worn by Bonnie Prince Charlie. PIC: NMS.

Conservators have been preparing the garment for display at the National Museum of Scotland’s major summer show, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites, which opens on Friday.

Made from silk velvet, wool and linen, the frock coat was donated to the museum in 1979 by a Jacobite-supporting family, whose identity cannot be revealed.

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It is believed the garment was worn by the Prince himself after arriving in Scotland in July 1745.

“The family had direct links with Prince Charles at the time of the 1745 rising and family provenance says it was understood to have been worn by him during his time in Scotland,” a museum spokesman said.

Danielle Connolly, assistant textile conservator at National Museum of Scotland has spent around 160 hours preparing the jacket for display.

She said it was “surreal” that she had worked so closely with an item linked to one of the nations’ most prominent historical figures.

Ms Connolly said the frock coat was “soiled, dusty and a bit sad looking” when it was first sent for conservation.

She added: “The silk velvet was worn, areas of fabric had been cut off and the buttons were missing, so it needed a lot of work.”

“It’s crucial any conservation work we do doesn’t compromise the shape or appearance of the original garment, so before cleaning it I tested the velvet, the wool, the metal thread in the button holes and the colours in the tartan to ensure that none of the dyes would bleed.”

The colours in the garment were brought back to life by a special cleaning process that “really improved the appearance of the jacket,” she added.

The exhibition brings together 300 items that chart the rise and fall of the Stuart dynasty with the show hailed as the largest display of Jacobite relics in 70 years.