The Stone of Destiny, otherwise known as the Stone of Scone, has become very important over the years as a symbol of Scottish national identity.
|The origins of the Stone are unknown, but the legend goes that it was "Jacob's Pillow" on which he had his dream of a ladder of angels. |
What is known is that by the 9th century, the Stone was located at the abbey of Scone in Perthshire, hence its common nickname.
The importance of the Stone comes from the fact that it was used as the coronation throne for Scottish kings for almost 500 years. Then, in 1296 the English King Edward I removed to Stone to Westminster Abbey in London where it was placed beneath the English coronation throne.
Understandably the Scots were not too impressed with this, and so the Stone became regarded as a symbol of English dominance of Scotland and became hugely important to Scottish Nationalists.
Any attempts to return the Stone of Destiny to Scotland failed until a spectacular feat of thievery that occurred in the 1950s. A group of Scottish students drove to London and simply pinched the stone right out of Westminster Abbey.
Chaos ensued with every attempt, including roadblocks all around London, being made to try to stop the thieves, but the students managed to sneak the Stone all the way back to Scotland.
The students tried to negotiate that the Stone should remain in Scotland, but the English authorities refused and so after 12 or so weeks the Stone of Destiny was returned to Westminster. In the meantime the students became national heroes and were never prosecuted.
Then several decades later, as Scottish Nationalism came to the forefront of British politics, the government decided that the Stone should indeed be returned to its proper home.
As a result, in December 1996, the Stone was returned to Scotland amid great ceremony. However, there was still some controversy due to the fact that it wasn't placed in its former home at Scone, but in Edinburgh Castle where it is now on display.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Stone of Destiny is once again in Scotland. However, like all good stories, the tale doesn't end there for there is still some dispute as to the true fate of the Stone of Destiny...
Some ancient documents state that the original Stone of Destiny was covered with intricate carvings, however today's Stone is completely plain.
Therefore many Scots claim that when Edward I stole the Stone, he was tricked into taking a fake, and that the original Stone of Destiny has been on Scottish soil the whole time, but is still hidden waiting to be discovered...
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