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Although notorious for paying scant attention to his personal laundry, Bonnie Prince Charlie could well have worn a variety of different tartans on his mysterious trail through Scotland to the killing fields of Culloden because this red, green and blue pattern differs from the yellow weave plaid which historians believe he abandoned on the battlefield. Nevertheless, such a discrepancy does not necessarily cast doubt on the veracity of the remaining statement.

In February 1746, Charles Stuart arrived at Moy Hall in advance of his troops and stayed there as a guest of the Mackintoshes, but the commander of the English garrison at Inverness soon received news of the Pretender’s presence and duly dispatched 1500 redcoats to take him prisoner. However, Lady Macdonald instructed her faithful retainer Donald Fraser of Moybeg to select four of his clansmen and head off the troops at the top of the pass. By spreading his forces under the cover of darkness and using the obscure topography to his favour, Fraser tricked the English into fearing that five clans faced them and consequently they fled back to Inverness. After an uneventful night in the state bed of Moy, Charles continued on his way to Culloden.

Seventy years and several generations later, Lady Margaret Mackintosh commemorated that night by tailoring the plaid (reputedly worn by Charles) into a canopy for the state bed, distributing the offcuts to close friends.

The fragment has been positively compared to the other pieces, only seven of which are known to exist. Four are in private hands, two at Blair Castle in Perthshire and one resides at the Inverness Museum. Consigned by an English vendor, this piece sold to a Scottish collector of Jacobite mementos at £1400 (plus 15 per cent premium).