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British Royals

The political row over one of most ancient parts of the Coronation ceremony

A candidate to be the next First Minister of Scotland has backed calls for one of the most ancient parts of the Coronation to be withheld from the ceremony which will see King Charles III crowned in May.

Ash Regan, who is running to become leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party and therefore First Minister, says she doesn’t think the Stone of Scone should be brought to London for the Coronation in just two months time.

A few days ago, the former Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, called for the Stone to be kept in Scotland rather than taken temporarily to London for the crowning of King Charles III. Mr Salmond said he didn’t think it was appropriate for the stone to be taken from the country at a time when the Westminster government has ruled out another referendum on Scottish independence.

In an interview for the Scottish Mail on Sunday, Ash Regan said she endorsed the idea that the historic artefact, known as the Stone of Destiny in Scotland, should be held back.

She told the paper “While I appreciate the tradition of using the Stone of Destiny in the Coronation, I believe it should remain in Scotland as an ancient symbol of our national heritage.”

And she suggested instead that The King should travel to Scotland for a ceremony involving the stone, separate from the Coronation itself.

The Stone has been used in the coronations of Scottish monarch for centuries but in 1296 it was taken by King Edward I of England when he gained the upper hand in his wars against Scotland. He had a chair created to house it – now known as the Coronation chair – and for 700 years, that is where the stone was kept. It has been used at the Coronation of every monarch since.

In 1996, it was returned to Scotland on the understanding that it would be made available for every coronation. King Charles III is the first monarch since Edward I himself to ascend the throne while the stone is in Scotland.

Plans are already under way for the stone to come to Westminster Abbey for the Coronation on May 6th 2023.

Ash Regan is currently seen as an outsider in the race to become SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland. The other candidates are Kate Forbes and Humza Yousaf. Neither has, so far, made a public comment on whether they think the Stone should be brought to London for the Coronation.

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.