Coronation chair

Watching a BBC Four re-run of the 1953 coronation films I was reminded of just how central and symbolic the old wooden Coronation Chair containing the Stone of Destiny is to the crowning of British monarchs.

Although facts about the Stone of Destiny (The Stone of Scone) are well known in Scotland the corresponding facts about The Chair of Scone (The Coronation Chair) are much less well known and it would be a tragedy if Scots lost sight of them.

Edward I attacked Scotland in Easter 1296, and by late summer he had fairly well conquered and subdued the whole country.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As part of the symbolism emphasising just how complete this conquest was, Edward ordered that the wooden chair (what is referred to as The Fatal Chair) on which the Scottish Kings were “inaugurated”, and which contained the Stone of Destiny, be removed from Scone Abbey and shipped to London, along with all other vestiges of Scottish monarchy and nationhood. It was not until after the 1314 Battle of Bannockburn that King Robert Bruce of Scotland was in strong enough a negotiating position to make demands for the return of those items and many others.

In this, he had the support of many English nobles who were looking for every possible opportunity to get at their vastly unpopular king. As late as the spring of 1324 there was one of many meetings of commissioners from King Edward I and King Robert Bruce, this one at York, “for treating of a final peace”.

Among the many Scottish demands at that time was one that “required the chair of Scone, in which was the fatal stone, to be restored”.

When Edward I died his son sat on the Chair of Scone to be crowned; it has been used at coronations in England ever since. Although there are plenty of bare-faced claims that it is “Edward the Confessor’s Chair” there should be ample documentary and scientific evidence to prove that it is the old chair which was removed from Scone in August, 1296.

Irvine Inglis