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The Irish to the Rescue

The Tercentenary of the Polish Princess Clementina’s Escape

Edited By Richard Maher

In May 1719, the rescue and escape of Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska from her detention in Innsbruck was celebrated throughout Catholic Europe. It was a feat of painstaking planning, daring execution, and steel-nerved improvisation. Masterminded by Kildareman Charles Wogan, he and his Irish and French companions influenced the course of international relations, shocking King George I’s government in London, and providing a much-needed boon to the followers of the exiled Stuart claimant, James Stuart III.

This unique collection of essays does not merely recount the factual story of Maria Clementina’s rescue and subsequent marriage, it provides for the first time in any publication an authoritative analysis of its political and cultural significance and the full historical context in which the event took place. A full image of Europe at the time of the rescue is sketched out, including such topics as the question of the Irish in Europe in the eighteenth century; the illustrious Sobieski family and their origins; a short account of the rescue itself; the fate of Charles Wogan and

his followers after the rescue; the Habsburg-Hanoverian alliance and its context; the marriage of James Stuart III and Maria Clementina Sobieska; details of the collection of Stuart artefacts housed at Trinity College Dublin; and contemporary musical compositions which were written and dedicated to Maria Clementina.

This book is a follow-on publication from a public seminar titled The Irish the Rescue: The Tercentenary of the Polish Princess Clementina’s Escape. The seminar was held at Europe House in Dublin on 30th April 2019.

The seminar and the publication of its proceedings have been generously sponsored by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ireland and the Embassy of France in Ireland.

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7 Political Allusions in Music Dedicated to James Stuart and Maria Clementina in 1719 (Aneta Markuszewska)

ANETA MARKUSZEWSKA

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The wedding of Maria Clementina Sobieska and James Francis Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender) was among the most notable and celebrated social and political events in Europe in 1719. It gave new impetus to the Stuart cause, as King George I faced the frustratingly plausible prospect of new Stuart descendants with a claim to the British throne arriving on the political scene to challenge his rule. Emperor Charles VI was likewise displeased, and both rulers made robust, though ultimately unsuccessful, efforts to frustrate the union. On her way to Italy Maria Clementina was stopped and detained in Innsbruck, from which she was spirited away by a group of courtiers loyal to the Stuarts led by Charles Wogan. The daring escape was much talked about, from aristocratic salons all the way down to lowly inns. The union between Sobieska and Stuart was favoured by Pope Clement XI, Maria Clementina’s godfather, who was hoping that their marriage would not only lead to a restoration of the Stuart dynasty, but also, more importantly, bring England back into the fold of the Roman Catholic Church. With so much hanging on the success of that project, the pope and others were willing to invest large sums of money and make considerable efforts and sacrifices on its behalf.

Maria Clementina and James Stuart were married in two separate ceremonies. The first, held in Bologna soon after Sobieska’s arrival in the city, was held by proxy because James was not in Italy on...

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