What is the 700-year-old stone that has been placed inside King Charles III's throne?

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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One of the more unique aspects of King Charles III's coronation this weekend is that an ancient stone has been placed inside his throne, as per tradition.

The Stone of Scone - also referred to as the Stone of Destiny - is a heavy piece of red sandstone weighing 335 pounds that was originally used for the coronation of Scottish monarchs.

However, in 1296 Edward I of England took it upon himself to seize the stone from Scone during the bloody English invasion of Scotland, and was eventually used for the coronation of English royals in the 18th century, per English Monarchs.

Finally, in 1996, the stone was returned to Scotland, where it now rests in Edinburgh Castle with the Scottish crown jewels. Though, now that it is apparently needed for King Charles III's coronation in England, the stone made the journey to London.

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A replica of the Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny at Scone Palace in Perthshire, Scotland. Credit: Duncan Bryceland / Alamy

Aside from its more than 700-year history in Scotland, the Stone of Scone also was the target of an elaborate heist in 1950.

The Mirror detailed how Ian Hamilton - a student studying law at the time who understood the history of the stone - believed it was a symbol of Scotland so hatched a plan to snatch it back... and he almost got away with it all.

In 1950, Hamilton and his friends - Kay Matheson, Gavin Vernon, and Alan Stuart - headed to London from Scotland in two Ford cars, walking into Westminster Abbey. The group attempted to remain there after closing, but were eventually spotted by a night guard before they could get to the stone.

So, the following night, the friends parked their cars nearby again and tried to break into the Abbey through another entrance - the door on Poet's Corner. While they managed to break open the door and tried to take the stone from beneath the throne, it broke into two pieces as they tried to get it through the Abbey. Hamilton swiftly picked up the smaller piece, which weighed around 90 pounds, and took it back to the car.

The theft was then discovered by the Metropolitan Police, who closed the borders to Scotland, as they rightfully assumed that would be where the stone would be headed.

After Hamilton passed away last year, his son told the BBC that his father would not want the stone to return to England for King Charles III's coronation. "If people want to be crowned on it they should come to Scotland and be crowned on it. I think that would be his standpoint," he stated.

And perhaps he is right! Maybe future monarchs should make the trip to Scotland for the stone, rather than risking any damage to the ancient stone by transporting it to England.

Featured image credit: Duncan Bryceland / Alamy

What is the 700-year-old stone that has been placed inside King Charles III's throne?

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

One of the more unique aspects of King Charles III's coronation this weekend is that an ancient stone has been placed inside his throne, as per tradition.

The Stone of Scone - also referred to as the Stone of Destiny - is a heavy piece of red sandstone weighing 335 pounds that was originally used for the coronation of Scottish monarchs.

However, in 1296 Edward I of England took it upon himself to seize the stone from Scone during the bloody English invasion of Scotland, and was eventually used for the coronation of English royals in the 18th century, per English Monarchs.

Finally, in 1996, the stone was returned to Scotland, where it now rests in Edinburgh Castle with the Scottish crown jewels. Though, now that it is apparently needed for King Charles III's coronation in England, the stone made the journey to London.

wp-image-1263210216 size-full
A replica of the Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny at Scone Palace in Perthshire, Scotland. Credit: Duncan Bryceland / Alamy

Aside from its more than 700-year history in Scotland, the Stone of Scone also was the target of an elaborate heist in 1950.

The Mirror detailed how Ian Hamilton - a student studying law at the time who understood the history of the stone - believed it was a symbol of Scotland so hatched a plan to snatch it back... and he almost got away with it all.

In 1950, Hamilton and his friends - Kay Matheson, Gavin Vernon, and Alan Stuart - headed to London from Scotland in two Ford cars, walking into Westminster Abbey. The group attempted to remain there after closing, but were eventually spotted by a night guard before they could get to the stone.

So, the following night, the friends parked their cars nearby again and tried to break into the Abbey through another entrance - the door on Poet's Corner. While they managed to break open the door and tried to take the stone from beneath the throne, it broke into two pieces as they tried to get it through the Abbey. Hamilton swiftly picked up the smaller piece, which weighed around 90 pounds, and took it back to the car.

The theft was then discovered by the Metropolitan Police, who closed the borders to Scotland, as they rightfully assumed that would be where the stone would be headed.

After Hamilton passed away last year, his son told the BBC that his father would not want the stone to return to England for King Charles III's coronation. "If people want to be crowned on it they should come to Scotland and be crowned on it. I think that would be his standpoint," he stated.

And perhaps he is right! Maybe future monarchs should make the trip to Scotland for the stone, rather than risking any damage to the ancient stone by transporting it to England.

Featured image credit: Duncan Bryceland / Alamy