Dr Samuel Johnson wrote of Flora:
'hers is a name that will be mentioned in history,
and, if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour.'
'…a finely documented and vivid portrayal of her life in North
Her name is immortalised because of her part in the escape of Prince Charles Edward
Stuart, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie', in 1746 but little is known about the rest of her life, especially her adventures in the American Revolution.
The author draws on original, unpublished material to give an exciting
account of one of the most romantic figures in Scottish history. Flora
was no shy young girl, but a resolute woman of 24 who not only played a
courageous part in rescuing the Prince from his enemies but did all she
could to protect her comrades. Her maturity astonished her admirers and
won her many friends and even the Prince of Wales, to whom she
said: "I should have done the same for you had I found you in a
She was imprisoned on a ship for five months and then placed under
house arrest in London but never brought to trial on her release, her many
admirers subscribed over £1500 - an enormous sum in those days -
to a fund for her.
Flora eventually settled in Skye and married Allan MacDonald of
Kingsburgh. In 1774, the Macdonalds emigrated to North America and
purchased a plantation in North Carolina and there is a fascinating
account of the lifestyle and fortunes of early Scottish settlers -
ancestors to so many modern Americans.
During the American Revolution Allan remained loyal to King
George and actually raised a regiment of Highlanders.
Meanwhile, Flora was actively involved in recruitment, stirring the
men to take up arms but unfortunately, she found herself again on the
losing side and with Allan captured and their plantation ravaged,
she was forced into hiding for two unhappy years.
On Allan's release, the family moved to New York, and finally to Nova
Scotia where Allan served in the army for five more years. Flora,
weakened by sickness, could no longer withstand the cold winters and
returned to Skye where she lived with her daughter at Dunvegan Castle. Allan
joined her in 1784 but they had no permanent home and Flora died on
Skye in 1790.