The historic Stone of Destiny is to be moved from Edinburgh Castle for the Coronation of King Charles.
An integral part of the royal ceremony, the stone is a symbol of monarchy both north and south of the border.
Now held in the Crown Room of the castle, the red sandstone weighing 152kg, which is also known as the Stone of Scone will be transported by a team of experts once the date of the Coronation is known.
Historic Environment Scotland (HES), which manages the castle, will arrange for it to be taken to Westminster Abbey.
The Stone of Scone also known as the coronation stone has been used as a seat for the crowning of new monarchs for hundreds of years.
When Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953 at Westminster Abbey, her throne sat above the stone.
After being a symbol of Scottish monarchy for centuries, it was seized by English forces led by King Edward I in 1296 and taken to Westminster Abbey, where it was built into his throne to show that Edward, known as the ‘Hammer of the Scots’, had conquered Scotland.
There it remained for hundreds of years until it was ‘reclaimed’ by Scottish Nationalists in 1950.
On Christmas Day, four Scottish students led a daring raid into Westminster Abbey and brought the stone back to Scotland.
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.
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.