The Stone of Destiny returns to Perth in 2024!
The Scottish Government has announced The Stone of Scone will be relocated yards from The Royal George, as the centrepiece of a new £26.5m museum, opening in 2024!
Construction work on the new museum at Perth City Hall is already well under way, with the museum on schedule to open its doors to the public in early 2024.
The red sandstone block was originally kept at the now-ruined Scone Abbey in Perthshire, and was used for early Scottish Kingship ceremonies until it was taken to England by King Edward I in 1296. Geological testing revealed the stone was quarried at Scone, on the outskirts of Perth. It was taken to Westminster Abbey by Englands’ King Edward I in 1296 and is still used to crown British monarchs.
On Christmas Day 1950, four Scottish nationalist students removed the stone from Westminster Abbey and smuggled it back to Scotland, sparking a huge manhunt. Hidden for months, it appeared in Arbroath Abbey before being returned to London. In 1996, The Stone of Destiny was brought back to Scotland, legally this time, and is currently displayed at Edinburgh Castle.
The decision to move it to Perth was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is one of the four commissioners for the safeguarding of the regalia who advised The Queen about all matters relating to the stone. The stone will be free to view for the many people expected to visit the exhibit from 2024.
In September 2022, following the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle, it was announced that the stone would be temporarily returned to Westminster Abbey for the coronation of King Charles III, on 6th May 2023, before being returned to Perth for the opening of the new museum the following year.
Council leader Murray Lyle said he was "hugely proud and excited" at the decision, which he described as a "game-changer" for The City of Perth.
Perthshire North MSP and deputy first minister John Swinney said he was "absolutely delighted" by the news of its return. "As someone who has campaigned for the Stone to return to Perthshire for almost a quarter of a century, it sometimes seemed like this day would never come," the SNP MSP said.
Tory MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, Murdo Fraser, said the "tremendous" news was "a real boost in dark times".
We look forward to welcoming the stone back, and the many visitors, to Perth in the coming years.