WESTMINSTER abbey and Historic Environment Scotland (HES) have been rehearsing the transport and placement of the Stone of Destiny for the King’s coronation with an “exact” 3D printed replica.

The Stone of Destiny is set to be moved from Edinburgh Castle in a bespoke transportation box to prevent the roughly 400 million-year-old stone from getting damaged.

It will then be escorted down to London by the police and the army and carefully placed under the chair King Charles will be crowned on in May.

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HES – who care for the stone – have said they are confident it will be safe, and have even sent a 3D printed replica of the stone to Westminster Abbey so they can rehearse placing it safely.

Rachael Dickson, HES regional collections manager, said: “We have undertaken the 3D scanning of the stone which has allowed us to make this one-to-one replica of the stone and in collaboration with Westminster Abbey, a one-to-one replica of the coronation chair.

“This allows us to rehearse the careful movement and operation of marrying the chair and the stone back together for the coronation of Charles.

"This also ensured that both the stone and the 700-year-old coronation chair are fully protected.”

The National:

Alba party leader Alex Salmond previously called for the First Minister – now Humza Yousaf – to refuse to allow the Stone of Destiny to be returned to England for the King’s coronation.

The former first minister’s party also demanded that 100 Scots guard the stone as it travels to prevent it from being stolen.

In 1296 the then king of England, Edward I, had the stone – used in the inauguration of Scottish kings for centuries – removed from Scotland. It was then built into a new throne at Westminster Abbey in London.

It was only returned to Scotland on St Andrew’s Day in November 1996.

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The stone has been damaged in transport before.

In 1950, four Scottish students famously took back the stone from Westminster Abbey in London and damaged it in transit. It was found some three months later, 500 miles away, at the high altar of Arbroath Abbey.

The next year, in 1951, it was repaired and reinstalled. The damage is still visible on the stone, however.

A new digital 3D model of the stone was created by HES ahead of the coronation, allowing it to be viewed from different perspectives and in higher detail than ever before.

This revealed previously unrecorded markings on the stone’s surface as well as many tooling marks evident from the original working of the stone.

Areas of wear and tear can now also be seen more clearly, as well as further details of the 1951 repair.