The Stone of Destiny has left Scotland for the first time in more than a quarter of a century – travelling to Westminster Abbey for its role in the coronation of King Charles.
The ancient relic was used to inaugurate Scottish royalty for centuries, before being removed from Scone Abbey and taken to London by King Edward I in 1296, where it was built into a new throne at Westminster Abbey.
Also known as the Stone of Scone, it was officially returned to Scotland after 700 years by then-prime minister John Major in 1996.
Since then, it has been on display at Edinburgh Castle.
But there’s another version about what really happened to this ancient symbol of Scottish monarchy
A pub in Glasgow’s west end lays claim to the real Stone of Destiny.
The legend goes that in the early hours of Christmas Day in 1950, four Glasgow University students removed the stone from Westminster Abbey, with the intention of bringing it back to its ancestral home.
However, Kenny Low, the owner of the Arlington Bar, says the stone was instead hidden at his pub on Woodlands Road, where the original plan was hatched.
He said: “My understanding is the students who repatriated the stone in the 50s hatched the plot in the Arlington Bar and subsequently after they had handed a stone back brought this stone into the Arlington Bar.”
For some, the stone has a magical role in a ceremonial occasion.
The stone will be placed under the coronation chair when Charles is officially anointed as King on May 6 – as it was when his mother was celebrated as Queen in 1953.
While for others it’s hugely politically charged – a symbol of grievance between Scotland and England after being seized in 1296 and taken to London where it remained for 700 years – aside from four months in the 1950s when it was removed by a group of students.
The stone inside the Arlington will soon be tested in a bid to prove it’s the real thing.
And while one Stone of Destiny arrives in London to play its part in the celebrations, staff at the Arlington are planning their own coronation.
“The provenance of this stone is as strong as the one in Edinburgh Castle,” said Kenny.
And that is all the proof that patrons at the Arlington need to be sure that King Charles will be sitting on the wrong stone come Coronation Day.