Stuart Donald was born in Aberdeen in 1971 but spent his school years in Perth.As the fortunes of Aberdeen FC waned in the late eighties, Stuart left Perth High School to pursue an HND in business studies with languages in Dundee. Throughout the 1990s Stuart worked regularly in Italy and France to improve his command of the languages, working in hotels, in a cobblers, ironing shirts in a dry-cleaners and writing reports on economic cooperation for the local chamber of commerce. Stuart then attended Strathclyde University to do an honours degree course in International Business with modern languages (IBML), which led to a career in financial services, based between London and Paris and working for American conglomerate General Electric. Stuart met his wife Catriona and in 2005, they both came home to Scotland, where they were lucky enough to get good jobs in Edinburgh. Shortly after that they moved to Linlithgow, got married in 2006 and their daughter Elodie arrived in 2008.