Scone, stone of

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Scone, stone of. A block of sandstone, long associated with the inauguration of early Scottish kings at Scone (Perthshire) but seized by Edward I in 1296; since 1308 every anointed English sovereign has been crowned on the special coronation chair built to contain it, thereby claiming overlordship of Scotland. It was transferred briefly to Westminster Hall for Cromwell's investiture as lord protector (1657). Buried for safety in the Islip chapel 1939–45, it was stolen by Scottish Nationalists on Christmas morning 1950, but was yielded up to Arbroath abbey the following April before being returned to Westminster abbey. In 1996, 700 years after its seizure, Elizabeth II authorized the stone's return to Scotland.

A. S. Hargreaves