Stone of Scone returns to England for coronation of Charles III
The Stone of Scone (or Stone of Destiny) is to be brought back to Westminster Abbey for the coronation of Charles III.
The stone, a block of coarse-grained, pinkish buff sandstone, was returned to Scotland in 1996, having been taken by England’s King Edward I in 1296 and used for his coronation. It had been used for centuries before that for the coronation of Scottish kings.
In England, it took on a ceremonial role in the coronation throne to become a traditional part of the crowning of British monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth II, who was crowned in 1953 and whose funeral was on 19 September 2022.
It had been built into the coronation throne in Westminster Abbey and stayed there for 700 years (apart from three months in 1950-51 when some Scottish students reclaimed it) until it was permanently returned to Scotland on Scottish patron saint St Andrew’s Day during the 700th anniversary of its removal. Its return to Scotland took place the year before the independence referendum, when the Scots voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. It has been in Edinburgh Castle since then.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which manages Edinburgh Castle, has confirmed the stone will be used in King Charles III's coronation. Afterwards it will return to Edinburgh Castle's Crown Room.
HES has always said: "The stone will only leave Scotland again for a coronation in Westminster Abbey."
To explore the stone in extraordinary detail, click here.
There is more about the cultural significance of stones in Scotland in Beatrice Searle's book Stone Will Answer, published in 2023. To read a review of the book, click here.