The birth of Prince James Francis Edward, son of King James VII and II and his second wife Mary of Modena, was highly controversial, as it was assumed that the king and queen could not produce healthy children. The birth of a male heir to the Catholic King of Britain increased the growing opposition of Protestants, who had wanted to see the king?s oldest daughter Mary, a Protestant, ascend the throne. They claimed that the real prince had died at birth and had been substituted. The 1688 Revolution subsequently saw Mary and her husband, the Protestant William of Orange, claim the British throne, forcing the Stuarts to flee to France. In this context, this portrait of the luxuriantly draped child should be seen as part of the counter-propaganda of the exiled Stuart family.