The Stone of Destiny.

Scotland's Stone of Destiny


The Day the Stone of Destiny came back to Scotland.

On St Andrews Day, 30th November 1996, Scotland's coronation stone, the Stone of Destiny, was installed in Edinburgh Castle.

21 gun salute at Edinburgh Castle

About 10,000 people lined the Royal Mile to watch the procession of dignitaries and troops escort the stone from Holyrood Palace to the castle. In a service at St Giles cathedral the Church of Scotland Moderator, the Right Reverend John MacIndoe, formally accepted the stone's return saying it would "strengthen the proud distinctiveness of the people of Scotland"

Once inside the castle the stone was laid on an oak table before the grand fireplace of the early 16th century Great Hall. The Scottish Secretary of State Michael Forsyth ceremoniously received it from Prince Andrew, who was representing the Queen.

Outside the castle, under clear blue skies, a twenty-one gun salute was fired from the Half-Moon Battery, echoed by HMS Newcastle lying anchored off Leith harbour in the Firth of Forth.

Interior of the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle

I asked an official why the Scottish flag, the Saltire (St Andrews Cross) was not flying at the highest point. He replied that because Prince Andrew, (second son of the Queen) was inside, the flag of the United Kingdom, the Union Jack, had to fly on top.

The Stone of Destiny, traditional coronation stone of Scottish Kings and Queens was stolen by English King Edward I 700 years ago and is still a powerful symbol of Scottish independence.

Because of luck - and their ability to run faster than anyone else up the Lang Stairs to the top of the castle - About Scotland Editors, John and Roselle Boyd-Brent, were the first from the public to see and photograph the stone in the Great Hall.

Michael Forsyth and the Stone of destiny

Michael Forsyth, then Secretary of State for Scotland,
talking to invited guests after the handing-over ceremony.

Today the stone is behind armoured glass surrounded by a sophisticated security system.

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