Scotland's 'Stone of Scone' finds its way home
November 15, 1996
Web posted at: 11:25 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Richard Blystone
LONDON (CNN) -- The British government gave Scotland a
precious stone Friday -- and it's about time, say Scots,
since it was stolen from them seven centuries ago.
The Stone of Scone (pronounced skoon) left Scotland in shame
in the hands of an English conqueror.
It returned in triumph to the winsome tunes of bagpipes,
though it was guarded closely in a closed Land Rover over the
bridge at Coldstream. That's where King Edward I carried off
the "stone of destiny" in 1296.
The stone, for centuries a coronation seat of Scottish kings,
spent recent memory surrounded by other special stones, at
London's Westminster Abbey.
The rock was fitted beneath the seat of a regal wooden chair,
and it has been part of every British coronation since it was
stolen, including that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
One legend says the stone is a fake, as the canny Scots hid
the real one when they saw King Edward coming. But the people
in Edinburgh's streets Friday gave it a genuine welcome.
"Without it we lacked something in the past which we'll be
able to have," said one man. "It will give us an identity
The royal stone will rest in Scotland's unofficial capital,
Edinburgh Castle, where it's reported the Scots will charge
the public the equivalent of $10 to see it.
What the British government bills as a gesture of
reconciliation is seen by some Scots as a political ploy by
Prime Minister John Major to scrape up a few votes. Scottish
nationalists are influential and active.
"We'll take what he's giving us back, and then we'll ask for
more," said Alex Salmond of the Scottish National Party. "And
the more we're going to ask for is not just a symbol of power
but the substance, our own democratic parliament."
Some Scots would even like to see a Scottish monarch on a
Scottish throne once more.
Whoever gets the job might want to bring a cushion for the
coronation. The old saying, "Heavy lies the head that wears
the crown," doesn't begin to express all the discomforts of
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