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

stone of destiny
What is the Stone of Destiny and its link to King?ALASTAIR GRANT - Getty Images
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In the lead up to King Charles III's coronation day, there's plenty to get excited about – from street parties (hello an excuse to eat cake and drink Pimm's at 11am) to a free, yes free, concert! And that's not all. As well as the will-they-wont-they conversation surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's attendance, another element of the King's coronation that's piqued our interest is the Stone of Destiny. Sounds fancy, eh?

Yep, while the Stone of Destiny sounds like something you'd find in a Disney fairytale, it's actually very real – and it'll play a huge part in the crowing of King Charles III.

Despite ascending to the throne shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022, Charles has had to wait quite a few months for his official coronation – which will take place on 6 May at Westminster Abbey. Nevertheless, with such a big event to organise, plans for the King's coronation are well 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.

stone of destiny
The Stone of Destiny was built within the throne and kept at Westminster Abbey in London.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 is the Stone of Destiny?

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, former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to relocate the stone – which is also known as the Stone of Scone – to Perth.

stone of destiny
The Stone of Destiny on its return journey to Scotland in 1996.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 coronation. 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.

Head here for everything you need to know about King Charles III's coronation.

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