The Stone of Destiny was stolen from Westminster Abbey and returned to Scotland by a gang of Scottish nationalists, of which this was the last surviving member.
It was on Christmas Day, 1950, when Ian Hamilton KC, along with three other college students, broke into the Abbey.
Before King Edward I of England brought it to London in 1296, it was used extensively at the coronation of kings of Scotland.
Mr. Hamilton went to law school and never stopped fighting for freedom.
Mr. Hamilton, who passed away at the age of 97, was remembered as a “legend of the independence struggle” and “one of the great giants on whose shoulders the current SNP stands” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
She continued, “I will always cherish his infrequent words of wisdom, encouragement, and support throughout my tenure as the SNP leader.”
Gavin Vernon (who died in 2004), Kay Matheson (who passed away in 2013), and Alan Stuart (who will be laid to rest in 2019) were the other students involved in the scheme to steal the Stone of Scone.
After being stolen from Scotland during the Wars of Independence, the stone had sat under the coronation throne in London for 650 years before its removal on December 23.
They entered the abbey through a side entrance and used prybars to remove the stone from a hollow behind the throne, causing it to crash to the ground.
After that, they hauled the stone outside and disappeared into the darkness.
The stone had been fractured in half during removal but was reassembled, and the culprits were thought to be long gone by the time it resurfaced on 11 April 1951 in Arbroath Abbey, covered with a Saltire.
Mr. Hamilton was questioned by police, but he was not prosecuted because, as the home secretary explained to the Commons at the time, it was not in the public interest to punish those guilty of stealing the stone.
It had been at Westminster Abbey since before 1996 when it was transferred to Edinburgh Castle.
It now resides in the Crown Room of the castle, among the Scottish Crown Jewels, but will be temporarily relocated to London during King Charles III’s coronation.
The Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Roddy Dunlop KC, stated that Mr. Hamilton was its oldest surviving member.
In his own words, he continued: “Ian was a wonderful friend to many, a strong supporter of his community, and a fierce advocate. And thus, it is with great regret that we must say goodbye to him.”
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