What is the Coronation Stone?

When the Queen was crowned in Westminster Abbey, there was a stone under the throne called the Coronation Stone, and it has a long and glorious history. Until 1286, this stone had been kept in the abbey of Scone where the Scottish kings were crowned.

It had great significance in the Coronation Service for the king stood on the “Stone of Destiny”, as it was called, while the Bishop, in God’s name, placed the crown upon his head. Why is the year 1286 important?

Well, in that year, King Alexander III was killed by a fall from his horse. His whole family had died before him, and his only living descendant was his grand-daughter Margaret, who was born in Norway. This left two distant connections of the king fighting it out between them an Englishman, John Balliol, and Robert Bruce.


Edward I was king of England at the time, and he decided to intervene in the struggle for power by offering to act as guardian during Margaret’s childhood, and proposed that the should marry his son and unite the two kingdoms.

Everyone agreed to this statesmanlike plan, but, unfortunately, the little girl died two months later on her way to Scotland. Edward claimed to be overlord in Scotland and allowed John Balliol to be king.

Within three years, Balliol was in armed revolt against his master and Edward invented. He easily defeated the Scottish army and annexed the century, denying it even the status of vassal kingdom this was symbolized by the removal of the “Stone of Destiny” to London, where it was put under the English Throne in Westminster Abbey, and it has stayed there ever since.

As you know, Robert Bruce eventually became king of Scotland and spent his whole life in revolt against the English, but that’s another story.

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