A Scottish national hero tells the story of a daring exploit that rocked Great Britain—and the love of country that inspired it.
Ian Robertson Hamilton was an unknown law student at Glasgow University—until Christmas Eve 1950. On that night, assisted by Alan Stuart, Gavin Vernon, and Kay Matheson, he took the Stone of Destiny from beneath the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey. The stone, once used in the coronation of Scottish monarchs, had been taken nearly seven centuries earlier by Edward I, and its recovery was a major symbolic victory, making Hamilton a Scottish national hero.
In England, however, the act had the opposite effect, and a manhunt for the “vulgar vandals” was launched to satisfy the outrage of the English establishment and bring the perpetrators to justice. In the end, the Stone was given up, but the gang was not charged. This solitary act set Hamilton on a path for the rest of his life—from which he has not diverged. Decades after that fateful night, the story still holds people spellbound when Hamilton recounts it. In this book, Ian Hamilton sets down the chain of events that led to his decision to go to London and remove the Stone and provides a minute-by-minute account of the act and the aftermath.
The basis of a major Hollywood film starring Robert Carlyle and Billy Boyd, The Stone of Destiny is not simply a retelling of a stunt that made nationwide news. It is a book about how a nation’s conscience was stirred by a symbolic act that changed the lives of many.