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The Tomb of the Stuarts

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The Tomb of the 3 Stuarts - Vatican Grottoes

On the left aisle, between the tombs of Cardinal Merry del Val and Pope Innocent XIII, is the sarcophagus with the remains of the last members of the royal dynasty of the Stuarts, deprived of the throne after the expulsion of the Catholic James II, from England in 1688. This is the resting place of, first of all, his son James III, who died in 1766 in Rome, where he had lived under the papal protection.


 

 

 

 

 

 

His two sons are buried in the same tomb. Charles Edward, after his death in Florence in 1788 was buried in Frascati, where his brother Cardinal Henry Benedict, the Duke of York, was Bishop. The latter, who for more than 57 years was the Archpriest of the Vatican basilica, was buried close to his father in 1807. Later, the remains of his brother were brought here. In 1938, Pope Pius XI granted the request of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who was then the Archpriest of St Peter's, to build a single, more dignified tomb for the three personages, who were already commemorated by the monument built in the basilica by Canova in 1819. On August 8, their remains were exhumed and located in a provisional loculus. In 1939, they were given definitive burial in the new sober, travertine sarcophagus resembling late ancient tombs. It sits on a slightly larger base and the barrel lid is decorated with two sculpted laurel wreaths with inscribed crosses. On the top, in the center is a bronze sculpture of crown sitting on a cushion. On the front is the following inscription.

IACOBO III
IACOBO II MAGNAE BRIT. REGIS FILIO
CAROLO EDVARDO
HENRICO DECANO PATRVM CARDINALIVM
IACOBO III FILIIS
REGIAE STIRPIS STVARDIAE POSTREMIS

To James III
son of James II, King of Great Britain
to Charles Edward
and to Henry, Dean of the Cardinal Fathers
sons of James III
the last of the Royal House of Stuart

The Tomb of the Stuarts - South Wall Vatican Grottoes The Tomb of the Stuarts in the Vatican Grottoes
The Inscription on the Tomb of the Stuarts in the Vatican Grottoes
Inscription on the Tomb of the Stuarts
Tomb of the Stuarts - Crown on the Cushion
The Crown on the Cushion - Tomb of the Stuarts
Detail of the Sarcophagus - Tomb of the Stuarts
Sarcophagus Detail on the Tomb of the Stuarts

Source: Roma Sacra The Vatican Grottoes, Fabbrica of St. Peter's, June 2003

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