He was probably nervous when he got out of the car, and he must have known that his presence would not open everyone’s hearts, but he certainly did not anticipate what followed. When Tom King, the Conservative Government’s Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, arrived in Belfast on 20 November 1985, five days after Margaret Thatcher and the Republic of Ireland’s Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald had signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, he got a small foretaste of loyalist anger as The Sun reported (21.11.1985, p. 7):

‘Ulster supremo Tom King was attacked yesterday by an egg-throwing mob. The Loyalist demonstrators scuffled with Mr King’s bodyguards when he arrived for a luncheon in Belfast. The jeering crowd, led by the Reverend Ian Paisley, were protesting the new Anglo-Irish Agreement, which gives the Dublin government a say in running Ulster. Mr King escaped unhurt as the mob smashed a headlight on his car.’

While politicians of all parties were quick to condemn the attack, Paisley was rather unrepentant, warning King that ‘[h]e should only to go [sic] those places where he is welcome, but he should not go out on to the streets of Northern Ireland, where the people look upon him as a traitor’ (The Daily Telegraph, 22.11.1985, p. 19). Other loyalist politicians went as far as saying that they would ‘follow Mr King around the province and give him a rough ride’ (The Daily Telegraph, 22.11.1985, p. 19).