Knighted by King Charles III

  02 Jul '24   |  Posted by: Birlinn

Alexander McCall Smith is formally Knighted in Edinburgh

Polygon author, Sir Alexander McCall Smith has been Knighted by King Charles III at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

The investiture ceremony took place today, Tuesday 2 July 2024, and forms a central part of Royal Week, during which the Monarch spends some days visiting various regions in Scotland, meeting Scots from all walks of life and hosting thousands at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in recognition of their good work. Following today’s private ceremony, Her Majesty The Queen hosted a reception for those involved in literature and literacy in Scotland, where all present could also celebrate Sandy’s Knighthood. Royal Week is slightly shorter than the norm this year, due to the date of the General Election.

Previous Scottish authors who have received Knighthoods or Damehoods include Sir Ian Rankin, Dame Muriel Spark and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. JK Rowling and Lady Antonia Fraser are both members of the Order of Companions of Honour.

Sandy was Knighted by His Majesty for services to literature, academia and charity. The honour was announced as part of the New Year Honours listing on 1 January 2024.

The creator of the 44 Scotland Street series, the longest running serial novel in the world, and The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, has in fact written and contributed to more than 120 books including short story collections, children’s books and specialist academic titles (he is an emeritus professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh). The author conceived the idea of the Great Tapestry of Scotland which now resides in a glorious, permanent gallery in the Scottish Borders, telling the nation’s story through the longest embroidered artwork in the world.

The detective agency series, set in Botswana, has sold more than 20 million copies in the English language alone and in addition, the books have been translated into 46 languages. He is also known for his various series including the 44 Scotland Street novels, the Isabel Dalhousie series, and the von Igelfeld entertainments. He started a new series this year, The Perfect Passion Company.

He is also a patron of several charities including The Eric Liddell Community, a care charity and community hub in Edinburgh.

On leaving the Palace, one eagle-eyed guest spotted that the Book Fairies had been at work and indeed a copy of one of Alexander’s books, The Kalahari Typing School for Men, had been left at the entrance to be enjoyed by the fortunate first person to spot it. Sandy duly signed it as he left and the lucky ‘finder’ was the Librarian from Portobello school. Gosh, the Book Fairies are good! A Gold star to whoever thought of this for timing and pic opportunities. Thank you for making a very special day just that little bit more special.

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