THE Honours of Scotland should be used to mark the coronation of King Charles III as well as the Stone of Destiny as they are both symbolic of the Scottish Crown, a leading historian has said.

After the funeral of Queen Elizabeth tomorrow, attention will turn to the coronation next year when the stone will be transported from Edinburgh to London to sit beneath the throne during the ceremony.

It is currently kept at Edinburgh Castle beside the Scottish Crown Jewels, formally known as the Honours of Scotland.

Queen Elizabeth was the first to receive them in any formal ceremony since the Union of Parliaments in 1707 when they were presented to her in 1953 following her coronation ceremony in London.

Professor Murray Pittock, author of Scotland: A Global History, said it would be a good precedent for her son to follow.

“There was a bit of criticism at the time because she was clearly advised to dress in a very modest way so that it wasn’t seen as a second coronation, but nonetheless the reception of the Honours of Scotland in a separate service was an acknowledgement of Scotland’s status as a separate kingdom,” he said.

“It was part of her interest in and commitment to Scotland and it is now a good precedent. The question is whether the new King will do the same. It would be nice if there were a similar event for Charles to recognise the Honours of Scotland.”

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It has already been announced that the Stone of Destiny will be used during the coronation, as was agreed when it was returned to Scotland in 1996.

Pittock said that although the stone was initially war booty when it was seized by Edward I’s forces from Scone Abbey in 1296, its use now in coronations was just a matter of ritual.

“It is a symbol of Scottish sovereignty and Edward I intended to take that sovereignty when he carried it away but now I think it is just regarded as part of the protocol,” he said.

“I would not want to say there is any political reason for the use of it except as part of the English coronation ceremony. Edward II and Edward III might have meant something by it but I don’t think that is the case any more. It is just part of the whole protocol and that is why the use of it was reserved when the stone came north 26 years ago.”

Seen as a sacred object, the earliest origins of the Stone of Destiny, which is also known as the Stone of Scone, are now unknown, although one legend is that it was used as a pillow by the Biblical hero, Jacob.

An ancient symbol of Scotland’s monarchy, it was used for centuries during coronations and then used for the same purpose in England after it was stolen.

On Christmas Day 1950, four Scottish students removed the stone from Westminster Abbey in London. Three months later, it turned up 500 miles away at the high altar of Arbroath Abbey.

It was taken back to London but returned in 1996, 700 years after it was stolen.

The Honours of Scotland are the oldest set of crown jewels in the British Isles but were locked up in the castle after the Union of Parliaments.

They were uncovered again in 1818 and have since been on public display at the castle with the Crown of Scotland present at each royal opening of the Scottish Parliament.

Before 1953, they were last used at a coronation when Charles II was crowned at Scone in 1651.