We begin part two with the Stone of Destiny installed in Westminster Abbey after Edward I of England took the stone as a spoil of war (catch up on part 1). It stayed there for 700 years. Successive Monarchs of England crowned themselves on it, to symbolise their rule in Scotland. Later Kings and Queens of a united Great Britain would do likewise. But this is subject to some further doubt from Christmas Day 1950 onwards.
On that day, a group of four young Scottish students took the stone from Westminster Abbey and held onto it for a few months into early 1951. Amazingly, one of them would later become a highly respectable Member of Parliament! The choice of venue for return of the stone to British Government control was extremely significant – on 11 April 1951, the stone was found at Arbroath Abbey. This was the place where Scotland issued its ‘Declaration of Arbroath’ in 1320. This was the sacred place where Scotland announced its independence from English control to the wider world back then. Some damage was done to the stone but, more significantly, yet another conspiracy theory suggests the Scottish students returned a replica stone at Arbroath Abbey. In this theory, the true Stone of Destiny returned to Scotland in 1951 and has stayed here since.
Regardless, during a wave of rising Scottish opinion for some measure of national recognition, in 1996 HM Queen Elizabeth and the UK Government authorised the return of the Stone of Destiny to Scotland. The choice of date for final return was highly symbolic – 30 November 1996 (St. Andrew’s Day – St. Andrew being the patron saint of Scotland). It was 700 years to the year since Edward I removed it from Scotland. One condition of its rehoming in Scotland is that it is temporarily returned to Westminster Abbey for future coronations of Monarchs of the United Kingdom. So now it sits in the Crown Room of Edinburgh Castle for visitors to view. But is it really the true Stone of Destiny? Who can be sure?
Make up your own mind – our walking tours visit Edinburgh Castle everyday where you can visit the Stone of Destiny for yourself sitting proudly beside the oldest Crown Jewels in Europe.