1951: The Famous “Stone of Destiny” Found

1951: The Famous “Stone of Destiny” Found
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 11 April 1951
  • The Stone appeared on this day in 1951 on the altar of the Scottish abbey Arbroath.

The Stone of Destiny is the name for the famous stone on which Scottish kings were crowned. Weighing about 152 kg, its traditional place was in the monastery of Scone, where every Scottish king came on the day of the coronation.

A problem arose when the English King Edward I (known from the movie Braveheart) invaded Scotland, captured the stone and took it to London.

Edward I had the stone fitted into the English throne (the legendary throne of St. Edward the Confessor) in Westminster Abbey. That way, any future King of England automatically became the King of Scotland during the coronation.

Four Scottish students in 1950 decided to return the stone from London to Scotland, where it belongs. On Christmas Day in 1950 they stole the stone from Westminster Abbey and secretly transported it to Scotland.

The British government ordered an investigation, but it was unsuccessful. Precisely on this day in 1951, the stone appeared in the Scottish Arbroath Abbey, on the altar.

It is assumed that the students left it there thinking that the Church will not allow the stone to be returned to London. However, the stone was returned to Westminster Abbey.

Only in 1996 did the British government decide to give the Stone of Destiny to Scotland, which was done on St Andrew’s Day that same year. The stone lies in Edinburgh Castle, near the crown jewels of Scotland.

There is, however, a provision to transport the Stone of Destiny to London when it is required for coronation of future British kings, and it can be returned afterwards.

In the meantime, suspicions arose that the stone that the students left at the altar of the church is not real but a copy, and that the real stone is hidden in some secret place.

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