Historic Stone of Scone reaches London for King Charles' coronation

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LONDON (Reuters) - The Stone of Scone, the coronation stone upon which monarchs in Britain have been crowned for centuries, reached London on Saturday after a journey from Scotland in a special carrier made from Scottish oak, ahead of King Charles' coronation next week.

Also known as the Stone of Destiny and regarded as a sacred, historic symbol of Scotland's monarchy and nationhood, it has been moved from its permanent home at Edinburgh Castle for the first time since 1996, to be used for Charles' May 6 coronation at Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey held a service on Saturday evening to mark its arrival there, the church said in a statement.

"(The stone) now comes again to this place by command of King Charles III as an act of unity and a symbol of friendship," Joseph Morrow, the heraldic authority for Scotland, said at the service.

The stone's origins are unknown, but it was believed to have been used in the inauguration of Scottish kings as far back as the early 9th century.

On Christmas Day in 1950, the stone was taken by Scottish nationalists from Westminster but was recovered a few months later 500 miles (800 km) away on the high altar of Arbroath Abbey in Scotland.

However, it was officially moved to Scotland on a permanent basis in 1996 and will return there after Charles' coronation.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Daniel Wallis)