Hundreds back petition calling for Stone of Destiny to stay in Scotland
Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for Scotland’s Stone of Destiny to stay in the country.
The oblong block of red sandstone on which kings and queens of Scotland were traditionally crowned was seized by King Edward I of England in 1296 and used in used in coronation ceremonies ever since.
It was famously stolen back from Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1950, and it has been installed at Edinburgh Castle since 1996, but will soon be taken south again for the coronation of King Charles III.
A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland confirmed: “HES staff will move the Stone of Destiny to Westminster Abbey in advance of the Coronation and then return it to Scotland.”
A petition by AJ Morton however says that the “stone of destiny belongs to Scotland”.
“At the time of Bruce and Wallace the Stone was removed from Scotland and irreverently concealed inside the throne of the Kings of England, who then used the stolen Stone to pretend they were Kings of (then Independent) medieval Scotland.
“The Stone wasn’t returned to Scotland until the late 20th century.
“The Scottish stone is about to be taken from its Scottish home, without Scotland’s permission, yet again. Shifting Scotland’s greatest treasures to and from London for ritual use (not for research or study) during a record-breaking poverty crisis is certainly archaic, but it’s also incredibly and needlessly expensive, and could even damage the Stone.
“The Stone should stay in Scotland, where it always belonged. If you agree, please add your name to the petition.”
It comes after a petition in Wales calling on the Royal Family to stop using the title Prince of Wales reached over 36,000 signatures.
On Tuesday tributes were paid to a lawyer who was among those who helped to steal the Stone of Destiny from Westminster.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led tributes to Ian Hamilton KC, who had been the last surviving member of the gang of four students who took the famous stone from Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1950.
Ms Sturgeon hailed the 97-year-old as being a “lawyer of exceptional quality”, but also described him as a “legend of the independence movement”.
Writing on Twitter, the First Minister said she was “extremely sad” to learn of his death.
Of Mr Hamilton, she stated: “He will long be remembered as one of the Christmas 1950 liberators of the Stone of Destiny.
“During my time as @theSNP leader I have received occasional words of wisdom, encouragement and support from him, which I will always treasure. He is one of the many giants on whose shoulders the modern SNP stands.
“My condolences go to his loved ones.”
Mr Hamilton, who had been born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, in 1925, was a law student at Glasgow University when he took part in the daring raid.
Together with fellow students Gavin Vernon, Kay Matheson and Alan Stuart, he travelled to London to take the historic artefact. Three months later, the stone – also known as the Stone of Scone – turned up 500 miles away at Arbroath Abbey.
It was returned to Westminster, but in 1996 was installed in Edinburgh Castle, where it is currently on display – although it will be taken south again for the coronation of King Charles III.
The SNP described Mr Hamilton as being an “inspiration to the independence movement”.
The party tweeted: “All of us at the SNP are deeply saddened at the death of Ian Hamilton.
“He will be forever remembered for his role in returning the Stone of Destiny to Scotland and as an inspiration to the independence movement.”
Gavin Newlands, the SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, tweeted he was “very sorry to learn that Paisley’s very own, Ian Hamilton has died”.
Mr Newlands added: “An accomplished advocate, he will be remembered best as an independence campaigner. On Christmas Eve 1950, Ian, with 3 friends, liberated the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey.”
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