Stone of Destiny arrives in London for King's coronation

The Stone of Destiny has arrived in London for the King's coronation next Saturday.

Also known as the Stone of Scone, it has been transported south from its usual home at Edinburgh Castle.

Weighing 125kg, it will be placed in the Coronation Chair for the enthronement, before being returned to Scotland.

It has been used in ceremonies to inaugurate new monarchs for almost a thousand years.

At a service to mark its arrival at Westminster Abbey, the Dean of Westminster, Dr David Hoyle, urged people to "pray for their majesties King Charles and Queen Camilla, for the Royal Family, and for God's blessing on all those who now work so hard on the preparations for the coronation".

Joseph Morrow, the Lord Lyon of Scotland, said the stone was an "ancient symbol of sovereignty".

He added that it had been used to "sanctify the inauguration of monarchs from time immemorial and in our recorded history from as early as the accession of Malcolm III of Scotland in 1058".

He continued: "The stone was taken from its place in the Abbey of Scone to this abbey church in 1296 by command of King Edward I in an act of enmity.

"It was returned to Scotland in 1996 by command of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in an act of amity.

"Now comes again to this place by command of King Charles III as an act of unity and a symbol of friendship.

"It is committed to your care and safekeeping until its return to Scotland after His Majesty's coronation."

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Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland, said the stone had changed from being a "spoil of war" to a "symbol of unity".

"A lump of sandstone that has been bashed about a bit is hardly an object of aesthetic beauty," he said.

"Yet its history ensures a kind of veneration and even calls for our celebration today.

"Once a spoil of war, the Stone of Destiny has become a focus of unity. A source of division, it returns today in an act of friendship.

"Soon to be displayed in Perth near its place of origin, it features again at the centre of our nation's history.

"Though ancient quarrels can be recalled, we do so as we celebrate what we hold together in trust and in concord."