The Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny, comes wrapped in myth and legend. Tradition has it that it was the coronation stone of Kenneth MacAlpin, the 36th King of Dalriada.
But the historical view is that Fergus, son of Erc brought the revered stone from Ireland to Argyll, and was crowned on it. Whatever the origin, the Stone of Destiny was placed on the Moot Hill and used in the coronations of the Kings of Scots until the end of the 13th century.
The Stone's History
In 1296 the Stone of Destiny was captured by Edward I as spoils of war and taken to Westminster Abbey, where it was fitted into a wooden chair, known as King Edward's Chair, on which most subsequent English sovereigns have been crowned.
On Christmas Day 1950, a group of four Scottish students reclaimed the Stone from Westminster Abbey. In the process of removing it, however, the stone broke into two pieces. Taking the larger piece the students risked roadblocks on the border and returned to Scotland.
The smaller piece was eventually brought north and the Stone of Destiny was repaired by Glasgow stonemason Robert Gray.
A major search for the stone had been ordered by the British Government, but this proved unsuccessful. Perhaps assuming that the Church would not return it to England, the stone's custodians left it on the altar of Arbroath Abbey, on 11 April 1951, in the safekeeping of the Church of Scotland.
Once the London police were informed of its whereabouts, the Stone of Scone was returned to Westminster.
Afterwards, rumours circulated that copies had been made of the Stone and that the returned Stone was not, in fact, the original.
The Stone Returns Home
In 1996, the Stone was finally restored to the people of Scotland when the British Government moved it to Edinburgh Castle.
The Stone of Destiny was last used at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II - and so it still performs its ancient duty, and to far greater effect, making not only the monarch of the Scots but of Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
It was written and directed by Charles Martin Smith and produced by Rob Merilees and the late William Vince. The role of the Scottish nationalist politician John MacCormick was played by Robert Carlyle.