I WAS made aware of the very sad demise of Queen Elizabeth on my mobile phone almost immediately after the news broke. Resorting promptly thereafter to the desktop computer screen, I beheld her last known photograph shaking hands with Liz Truss within Balmoral’s gorgeous drawing room.

My attention was somewhat diverted, however, to the fireplace surround immediately behind Her Majesty, yet managed to decipher only a partial part of a single word etched into the horizontal framework. The entire word just had to be the Latin “impune”, whilst lower down on the right side of the grate and just above the hearth was a large tile-embossed Saltire. At the time I imagined the print media might have referenced the issue as noteworthy, but have been disappointed hitherto.

Scotland’s Heraldic motto originated with the Battle of Largs on October 2, 1263, and since that date is immortalised in Latin as: “Nemo me impune lacessit”. In Gaelic: “Cha togar m’fhearg gun dioladh”. And in English: “No-one provokes me with impunity.”

Roderick MacSween