King Charles’ coronation to bring Stone of Destiny back to England - what is it, why is it controversial?

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The symbolic stone may only be moved in aid of a coronation

King Charlescoronation will see the historic stone of destiny return to England for the first time since 1996. The ceremonial stone will be moved from Edinburgh to Westminster Abbey ahead of May 6.

The last time it was featured in a ceremony was Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 and it almost never made it. Prior to the ceremony, the stone was stolen from Westminster Abbey by a gang of Scottish nationalists.

Here’s everything you need to know about the stone of destiny and why it’s important.

What is the Stone of Destiny? 

The Stone of Destiny, officially known as Scotland’s Stone of Scone, is an ancient symbol that was used in the inauguration of Scottish Kings.

In 1296, King Edward I, took the stone and ordered for it to be built into the coronation chair of Westminster Abbey. It sat underneath the chair that hosted several monarchs, until one day it was taken back.

Four Scottish students hatched a plan to seize the stone on Christmas day, 1950. Masterminded by Ian Hamilton, the students successfully held onto the Stone of Destiny for three months before depositing it outside Arbroath Abbey - the place where the declaration of Scottish Independence was signed.

Almost 50 years later, the stone was officially returned to Scotland by John Major in an effort to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the stone being taken. It is now displayed alongside Crown Jewels in the Royal Palace of Edinburgh Castle.

The symbolic stone may only be moved in aid of a coronation and will be making its way to Westminster Abbey to sit beneath King Charles III as he declares his ascension to the throne.

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