What is the Stone of Destiny and what does it have to do with King Charles III?

·3-min read
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

If you've seen the news at all this morning – whether that's on the actual TV or via a scroll through social media – you may have heard chatter about the Stone of Destiny, which sounds like something you'd find in a Disney fairytale. But, as it turns out, the Stone of Destiny is very much real – and it'll play a huge part in the crowing of King Charles III.

To recap, last week it was announced that Britain's longest-serving monarch – Queen Elizabeth II – had passed away at the age of 96. Since then, the Royal Family has banded together to mourn Her Majesty, arrangements for the Queen's funeral have been announced and King Charles III was sworn in as the new head of state.

Despite ascending to the throne, King Charles III's coronation is still a while away yet. In fact, we could be waiting until 2023 for the ceremony, especially given that Queen Elizabeth II had to wait over a year for her own.

Nevertheless, with such a big event to organise, plans for the King's coronation are already underway – which is where the Stone of Destiny comes in.

What is the Stone of Destiny?

Much like The Sword in the Stone, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Stone of Destiny came straight out of a children's book. Actually, the Stone of Destiny is exactly what it sounds like: a stone.

Photo credit: Print Collector - Getty Images
Photo credit: Print Collector - Getty Images

According to historians, the Stone of Destiny is an "ancient symbol" and "sacred object" that was used for centuries in the inauguration of Scotland's kings. But in 1296, the stone was seized from Scotland by England's King Edward I and he had it built into a new throne at Westminster. From then on, it has been used in the coronation ceremonies of English monarchs.

Where does the Stone of Destiny live?

After being stolen by King Edward I in the early 1200s, the Stone of Destiny remained in London's Westminster Abbey until four Scottish students removed it on Christmas Day 1950. Three months later, the stone was discovered more than 500 miles away, at the high altar of Arbroath Abbey.

The Stone of Destiny was then taken back to the throne at Westminster Abbey, but four decades on it was officially returned to Scotland where it was kept in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle. In 2020, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to relocate the stone – which is also known as the Stone of Scone – to Perth.

Photo credit: Mathieu Polak - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mathieu Polak - Getty Images

How is the Stone of Destiny linked to King Charles III?

In keeping with coronation traditions, the Stone of Destiny will leave Scotland once more and travel to Westminster Abbey for the crowning of King Charles III. Afterwards, it will be returned to its home in Scotland, where it is seen as a priceless artefact and visited by more than a million tourists each year.

Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this difficult time.

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