Stone of Destiny welcomed to the Abbey

Saturday, 29th April 2023

Stone of Destiny welcomed to the Abbey

A service to mark the arrival of the Stone of Destiny at Westminster Abbey was held on Saturday 29th April.

The stone, an ancient symbol of Scotland’s monarchy, will play a central role in the Coronation of HM The King in the Abbey on 6th May.

The Stone of Destiny

The Stone of Destiny was for centuries used in the inauguration of Scotland’s kings. In 1296, King Edward I brought the stone to Westminster. He placed it within the Coronation Chair, the oak seat he commissioned in 1300-1301 and which has been the centrepiece of coronations for more than 700 years. 

In 1996, the UK government announced that stone was to be returned to Scotland, but would come back to the Abbey for coronations. It has travelled from its home in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle where it is visited by millions of people each year.

About the service 

Today's service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle, who said in his Bidding:

Today we meet in deep friendship and respect, confident in our different histories, here to acknowledge what unites us. We have a common calling under God which summons citizens of all kingdoms to find a home in the Kingdom of Christ, for he is our peace. 
We meet to pray for Their Majesties King Charles and Queen Camilla, for the Royal Family and for God’s blessing on all those who now work so hard on the preparations for the Coronation. We will pray for the government and people of Scotland and for our sisters and brothers in the churches of Scotland. With nations and with the Commonwealth we look to the Coronation where, in worship and music, we will find a common voice and express a common hope. 

Among those speaking at the service was the Right Honourable The Lord Lyon King of Arms, who said in his address:

The Stone was taken from its place in the Abbey of Scone to this Abbey Church in 1296 by command of King Edward I in an act of enmity. It was returned to Scotland in 1996 by command of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in an act of amity and now comes again to this place by command of King Charles III as an act of unity and a symbol of friendship.

The Very Reverend Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland and Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge, said:

Scripture recalls us to the bedrock of faith, the stones from which are hewn, the foundations upon which our lives must be built if we are to live well with one another – foundations made by God, our Creator and Sustainer. So as we mark the arrival of the Stone of Scone today, we thank God for our common purpose, for bonds of friendship, and for the rich heritage of faith.

The Reverend Canon David Stanton, the Abbey's Sub-Dean, read Ephesians 2: 13-22. Prayers were led by the Reverend Mark Birch, Minor Canon and Precentor.

The service was sung by the Robin Chapel Choir, directed by Paul Gudgin, Dr h.c. The organ was played by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist. 

Order of Service: A Service to to mark the arrival of The Stone of Destiny (PDF, 301KB)

More about coronations 

Discover more about the history of coronations at the Abbey and find out about upcoming events: