Stone of Destiny to return to London for King's coronation

The historic stone is in Scotland and only leaves when there is a coronation in London's Westminster Abbey

The Stone of Destiny in the Great Hall in Edinburgh Castle. PA
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The Stone of Destiny will be moved from Edinburgh Castle to London for the coronation of the new king, it has been confirmed.

Queen Elizabeth II's throne sat above the stone when she was crowned in 1953 at Westminster Abbey.

The historic artefact was moved to Scotland more than quarter of a century ago, but it will be moved down to London for the ceremony involving her son.

No date has yet been announced for the coronation ceremony of King Charles III.

“HES staff will move the Stone of Destiny to Westminster Abbey in advance of the coronation and then return it to Scotland,” a spokeswoman for Historic Environment Scotland said.

The agency manages several historic locations across Scotland, including Edinburgh Castle, where the stone is among the items on display in the Crown Room.

“The stone will only leave Scotland again for a coronation in Westminster Abbey,” the HES website says.

The Stone of Destiny, which is described as being coarse-grained, pinkish buff sandstone, is regarded as a historic symbol of Scotland’s monarchy, and was used in the inauguration of Scottish kings for centuries.

But in 1296 the king of England, Edward I, had it removed from Scotland and it was built into a new throne at Westminster Abbey in London.

It was returned to Scotland on St Andrew’s Day in November 1996.

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In 1950, four Scottish students famously stole the stone from Westminster Abbey in London. It was found about three months later, 800 kilometres away, at the high altar of Arbroath Abbey.

In November 2020 Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to relocate the stone — which is also known as the Stone of Scone — to Perth.

Updated: September 12, 2022, 4:54 AM