Everything You Need To Know About The 'Stone Of Destiny' And Its Role In King Charles III's Coronation

stone of destiny
What Is The Stone Of Destiny?Getty Images

King Charles III's coronation is fast approaching, with the date set for Saturday 6 May and the ceremony due to take place at Westminster Abbey, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. We're already counting down the days – and not just because of the all the street parties, afternoon teas and that extra Bank Holiday on Monday 8 May.

It's the first event of its kind since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, and as such is set to be a spectacular affair featuring British traditions aplenty alongside modern-day details. Per an official statement released by the Palace: 'The Coronation will reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry.'

destiny stone
HANNAH MCKAY - Getty Images

And among the many historic traditions involved in the ceremony will the Stone of Destiny, a block of sandstone that has played an integral part in the coronations of the monarch for centuries.

Here's everything you need to know about the Stone of Destiny, and how it will be used in King Charles III's coronation:

What is the Stone of Destiny?

The Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone or the Coronation Stone, is a sacred and ancient symbol of Scotland's monarchy, that has been used for centuries in the inauguration of kings and queens.

A block of red sandstone that weighs about 150kg, the Stone of Destiny's origins are unknown – though there are numerous legends about its history, some which go all the way back to Biblical times. We do know, however, that it was originally kept at Scone Abbey near Perth which sadly no longer exists.

In 1296, however, when England invaded Scotland, the Stone was stolen by King Edward I and built into a throne at Westminster Abbey, known as King Edward's Chair. Ever since, it has been used in the coronation ceremonies of the majority of Britain's monarchs.

stone of destiny
The Coronation Chair, with the Stone of Destiny, in Westminster Abbey.Print Collector - Getty Images

Naturally, the Stone of Destiny's removal from Scotland has long been something of a contentious issue. When England passed a treaty to return it to Scotland in 1328, crowds of protesters stopped the Stone from being moved from Westminster Abbey and it remained largely in situ thereafter. In 1950, four Scottish students stole the Stone and it was recovered three months later at Arbroath Abbey on Scotland's east coast - before being promptly returned to London.

In 1996, however, the Stone was officially returned to Scotland and has remained there ever since, displayed in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle.

stone of destiny
The Stone of Destiny being returned to ScotlandMathieu Polak - Getty Images

Per tradition, the Stone of Destiny will be transported to London to be featured in the coronation of King Charles III on May 6 – before being returned to its rightful home in Scotland.

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