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Charles III - King of Scots

Whilst London is busy preparing itself for the upcoming Coronation Ceremony for King Charles III it is worth remembering that he will also be crowned King of Scotland with descendance that can be traced back to Robert The Bruce. There is little doubt that the current Royal Family and the new King hold Scotland close to their hearts. His mother, the late Queen Elizabeth did not hide her love for Scotland and her passing away at Balmoral Castle and her subsequent funeral passage across Scotland down to Edinburgh and her lying in State were perhaps the most moving and memorable moments of that highly charged week of funeral events. Prince Charles love for Scotland is in no lesser than his Mother's was.

The revival of the Monarch's interest in their Scottish Crown can be dated back to a very specific event in 1822 and the arrival of George IV in Scotland - the first time a reigning Monarch had set foot there since Charles II in 1650. Queen Victoria followed and fell in love and deepened the relationship ensuring Scotland remained a focus of the family right up to the current King Charles.

Queen Victoria at Balmoral on horseback 1863
Queen Victoria at Balmoral on horseback 1863
Sir David Wilkie's portrait of the kilted King George IV
The artist Sir David Wilkie's portrait of the kilted King George IV on his visit in 1822

It is worth remembering that The Union of the Crowns actually predates the political Union between Scotland and England by 100 years. The first union of the two crowns occurred in 1603 when James VI of Scotland, also known as James Stuart, became King James I of England, uniting the Scottish and English crowns. This followed the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England, who had no direct heirs, and James was the closest living relative. James succeeded to the English throne and became the first monarch to rule over both Scotland and England, although the two countries remained separate sovereign states with their own parliaments and legal systems. This Union of the crowns eventually paved the way for a closer relationship between Scotland and England, and ultimately led to the Acts of Union in 1707, which united the two countries into a single kingdom.

The Acts of Union in 1707 abolished the Scottish Parliament and transferred its powers to the Parliament of Great Britain, which was created by the Acts. The Acts also established a single system of laws, taxation, and administration for the two countries. The Act of Union finally brought centuries of conflict to an end and the end of Scotland as an independent Kingdom.

On the 6th May King Charles III will be crowned as he sits on a throne that includes one of Scotland's most important relics.

Last week witnessed one of the main events of the Coronation Ceremony when An clach-na-Cinneamhain (Gaelic) or The Stone of Destiny returned to London from Edinburgh Castle where it has been kept since 1996 and as is tradition will be placed underneath the Coronation throne signaling the union of the crowns of Scotland & England

The Stone of Scone - now kept in Edinburgh Castle
The Stone of Scone - now kept in Edinburgh Castle

This simple rectangle shaped block of sandstone has been used for centuries in the coronation of Scottish kings and queens.

The origins of the stone are somewhat vague but it is thought The Stone was brought from Ireland to Scotland and placed at the Moot Hill, an ancient assembly site in Scone, in the 9th or 10th century. The first literary reference to the stone comes in the poem "The Prophecy of Berchán," attributed to the Irish bard Berchán in the 11th century.

It is believed to have been used as a coronation stone as early as the 9th century. According to legend, the stone was brought to Scotland by the prophet Jeremiah, who hid it in Ireland before it was brought to Scotland by the Scottish king Fergus in the 6th century.

By Otter - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
By Otter - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The stone was later used in the coronation of Scottish monarchs, including Macbeth, who was crowned on the stone in 1040. It was also used in the coronation of William the Lion in 1165, and subsequent Scottish monarchs until 1296, when King Edward I of England invaded Scotland and took the stone to Westminster Abbey in London.

The stone remained at Westminster Abbey for centuries, and was used in the coronation of English monarchs, including Queen Elizabeth II, who was crowned on the stone in 1953. In 1996, the stone was returned to Scotland and is now kept at Edinburgh Castle.

As the stone returns to Edinburgh so will the new King Charles III continue to wear both crowns.

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