Preparations are under way to move the Stone of Destiny from Scotland to Westminster Abbey for the King’s Coronation.
The First Minister confirmed he was taking part in a ceremony at Edinburgh Castle on Thursday afternoon to see off the symbol of Scotland’s nationhood.
Humza Yousaf told reporters: “I think I’m going off to the ceremony later today, of course I’ll also be making sure it comes back up the road too.”
It comes as an opinion poll suggested almost three quarters of Scots don’t care about Charles’ coronation.
The plans to return the Stone of Destiny to England for the first time in more than a quarter of a century are shrouded in secrecy.
There are fears that protesters might try to interfere with or even disrupt its first outing south of the border since it was officially returned to Scotland after 700 years by then-prime minister John Major in 1996.
It will be transported under tight security following a previous raid before being placed beneath the Coronation Chair at Westminster Abbey.
The First Minister is empowered under a Royal Warrant as a commissioner for the Keeping of the Regalia – meaning the safekeeping of items including the Stone of Destiny – so he had to be present when it was being piped out of Edinburgh Castle.
It has become the symbol of Scottish nationhood but for 700 years, with the exception of just a few short months, it remained hundreds of miles away in London.
Also known as the Stone of Scone, it is a 125kg slab of pinkish sandstone but, despite its plain, battered look, it carries with it an enormous amount of symbolism, history and legend.
Measuring just 67cm in length, 24cm in width, and almost 27cm in height, it has played an outsize role in centuries of royal tradition.
Removed by King Edward I of England in 1296, it was brought back to Scotland by a gang of four Scottish nationalists in a daring Christmas Day raid in 1950, returned to Westminster Abbey months later, and then in 1996 sent back north of the border to Edinburgh.
Charles will be the latest royal to be crowned on the stone. Before it was looted in the Wars of Independence, it was used in the coronation of Scottish kings for hundreds of years.