No, this photo does not show King Charles with the Dunblane school shooter

By: Praveen Kumar
May 9 2023

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No, this photo does not show King Charles with the Dunblane school shooter


The Verdict False

Deputy Lord Lieutenant Ian Thornber with now King Charles in a 1999 photo has been misidentified as the perpetrator of the Dunblane school massacre.

Claim ID 2fa7d6a0


In light of the recent coronation of King Charles III, a photo of him from when he was the Prince of Wales with two other men is circulating on Facebook and other social media. The photo caption claims the two men are serial abuser Jimmy Savile and the Dunblane massacre shooter, Thomas Hamilton.

The Dunblane massacre took place on March 13, 1996, at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland. Hamilton shot dead 16 students and their teacher as they took part in a PE lesson before taking his own life.

Several Facebook users shared this photo to criticize King Charles and claimed he associates with "people who like to hurt children." Some users also circled the man on the right in the photo, falsely identifying him as the mass shooter.

In Fact

The photo in question is unedited, and we found the original on the stock website Alamy. The image is titled “Prince of Wales/Glencoe,” and the description reads, “The Prince of Wales (left), Sir Jimmy Savile (center), and deputy Lord Lieutenant, Ian Thornber, share a joke after the prince arrived in Glencoe for a visit to the mountain rescue center." It was captured on July 7, 1999, and credited to an unnamed photographer from the Press Association.

The viral photo was taken in 1999, three years after the massacre. However, as mentioned, Hamilton shot himself dead after the shooting, proving he could not be the man pictured in the photo. Pictures of Hamilton in news articles about the massacre show no resemblance to the man in the viral photo.

Deputy Lord Lieutenant Ian Thornber, who is misidentified as Hamilton in the viral image, can be seen walking next to the now King Charles in a video of the same 1999 visit, available on the stock image website Getty Images. Thornber is a representative for the Crown in the Lochaber area.

Jimmy Saville, the man standing in the middle in the photo, was a famous British TV and radio personality. He died in 2011. In 2013, hundreds of sexual abuse allegations against him from children and women that went unacknowledged for about five decades came to light. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) apologized for "missing the opportunity to prosecute Savile in 2009, while he was still alive," BBC reported.

The Verdict

This photo, taken in 1999, shows Deputy Lord Lieutenant Ian Thornber with now King Charles, and not the Dunblane massacre shooter Thomas Hamilton. Hamilton killed himself in 1996 after committing the deadliest mass shooting in British history. Therefore, we have marked this claim false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before