THE Stone of Destiny is to be moved from Edinburgh Castle to the city of Perth near its original home of Scone, it has been announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

After a public consultation exercise showed an overwhelming majority in favour of the move, the Stone of Destiny – stolen by King Edward I of England from Scone in 1296 – will form the centrepiece of the refurbishment of Perth City Hall due for completion in 2024.

The move of the Stone to Perth City Hall is a trifle ironic as councillors and officials at Perth and Kinross Council wanted to demolish the Hall some years ago.

Local people campaigned to keep the hall, however, and persuaded the council to campaign for the stone to be moved. They have been proven triumphantly correct with the decision to relocate the stone to the listed building in Perth city centre.

READ MORE: How returning the Stone of Destiny led to decades of repercussions

After it was stolen by Edward Longshanks, the stone was housed in Westminster Abbey where it became part of the Coronation Chair.

Yesterday’s announcement came almost 70 years to the day since a group of Scottish pro-independence students famously repatriated the Stone at Christmas, 1950, before it was given back the following April.

It was then moved to Edinburgh Castle in 1996 where it currently sits beside the Honours of Scotland.

There have been doubts expressed as to whether the stone is the original Stone of Scone upon which generations of Scottish monarchs were crowned. Genuine or not, it has played a part in the coronation of every English, and then British, king and queen since the 14th century and is more generally known in England as the Coronation Stone.    

The Scottish Government stated: “The announcement to the Scottish Parliament was made on behalf of the Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia, who advise Her Majesty The Queen about all matters relating to the Stone.

“In 2019 Perth & Kinross Council and Culture Perth & Kinross made a submission to the Commissioners to relocate the Stone of Destiny to Perth.

“Following a public consultation the Commissioners recommended to Her Majesty that the stone should be relocated and Her Majesty has now accepted that advice.

“The stone is planned to be moved in 2024 to become the centrepiece of the opening of the Perth City Hall refurbishment project. Plans will be in place to ensure the Stone can be returned to Westminster Abbey for future Coronations.

“Historic Environment Scotland, who have been responsible for the stewardship and care of the stone since its return to Scotland in 1996, will continue to assist with the ongoing conservation of the stone.”

READ MORE: The return of the Stone of Destiny was an important point for nationalism

First Minister Sturgeon said: “The Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone, forms an important part of the story of Scotland.

“Following due consideration the Commissioners were satisfied that the proposals for Perth City Hall gave full and proper regard to the need to ensure the security and conservation of the Stone, its accessibility to the general public and that it would be displayed in a manner in keeping with such an important cultural artefact

“The Commissioners also concluded that there would be considerable merit in relocating the Stone to assist with the ongoing regeneration of Perth.”

Scotland’s leading historian Professor Sir Tom Devine will be looking back at 2020 in two exclusive articles in the Sunday National over the next two weeks – simply not to be missed.  

He commented on today’s announcement: “The Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia should be warmly congratulated on this wise and imaginative decision. The Stone of Destiny will in fact be returning to its ancestral home as it was quarried at Scone near Perth.

“This is a tremendous and historic boost for the city.

“Commiserations should go to Edinburgh Castle but that world famous attraction already possesses other treasures from the nation’s past.”