Born in Milton, South Uist, Flora MacDonald had a parentless upbringing,
staying with her brother until the age of 13.
In 1739 she went to live with Sir Alexander MacDonald of the Isles at
Monkstadt on Skye.
It was on a return visit to the Clanranald home on Benbecula, in 1746,
that she agreed to aid Prince Charles Edward Stuart, fugitive since Culloden,
with a price of £30,000 on his head.
He was named Betty Burke on MacDonald's papers and dressed accordingly.
Despite such precautions, the Government militia, monitoring the coastline
for unusual movements, saw the boat conveying the Prince and his party
from Benbecula to Skye, and attempted to sink it. They were unsuccessful,
however, allowing Flora to take her companions into the custody of Lady
MacDonald of Monkstadt, who provided a nearby cottage for their shelter.
The following day Flora took the Prince to Portree, whence he sailed to
Raasay. The grateful Prince, in parting from his saviour, gifted her his
portrait in a gold locket saying the words, "I hope, madam, that
we may meet in St James' yet'.
Flora, who never saw the Prince again, was arrested on her return to Benbecula
and imprisoned in the Tower of London until the Jacobite amnesty of 1747.