Tayside and Central Scotland

Perth wants Stone of Destiny to return to 'ancestral home'

Stone of Destiny and Honours of Scotland Image copyright Crown copyright
Image caption The Stone of Destiny and Honours of Scotland are currently at Edinburgh Castle

The public are to be asked whether the Stone of Destiny should be displayed at a new museum in Perth.

The proposal is for it to be the centrepiece of a new £23m museum at the former Perth City Hall.

The Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia have launched a consultation on the stone's future location.

If it remains at Edinburgh Castle, Historic Environment Scotland plan a major redevelopment of the display.

The new museum in Perth is expected to open in 2022.

The stone was originally kept at the now-ruined Scone Abbey in Perthshire.

Image copyright Perth and Kinross Council
Image caption The stone could be the centrepiece of a new museum

Fiona Robertson, head of culture and community services at Perth and Kinross Council, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "We are hopeful because the stone is one of the UK's most important cultural objects.

"It comes from Perthshire and this is a chance to display it in a really stunning new museum which we think would bring its wider meaning to life.

"And, of course, it'll be free of charge for everyone to visit it if it does come to Perth."

Under the terms of their Royal Warrant, it falls to the commissioners to consider and advise on all matters relating to the stone, although the final decision on any move to relocate it will lie with the Queen.

Perth's bid has attracted cross-party support.

Image copyright Perth and Kinross Council
Image caption Perth has submitted images showing how the stone could be displayed

Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, said: "It is welcome news that consideration is now being given to the Stone of Destiny returning to its ancestral home at the heart of Scotland.

"I have long supported and championed the claim that Perthshire is the right location for this critically-important historical artefact."

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser also backs the plan.

"For years I have supported the return of the Stone of Destiny to Perthshire," he said.

"It's good to see a consultation now launched on this - please respond so Nicola Sturgeon and the other commissioners make the right decision.

"The UK government is supporting the refurbishment of Perth City Halls through the Tay Cities Deal - it would be the ideal location for the Stone and bring enormous economic and cultural benefits to the area."

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The stone was moved to Edinburgh Castle in 1996

King Edward I took the stone from Scotland in 1296 as a spoil of war.

On Christmas Day, 1950, four nationalist students removed the stone from Westminster Abbey and smuggled it back to Scotland, sparking a huge manhunt.

It was hidden for months then placed in Arbroath Abbey before returning to London.

In 1996, the stone was returned to Scotland and is now displayed with the Honours of Scotland at Edinburgh Castle.

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