(Edinburgh) The ‘Stone of Destiny’, one of the centerpieces of King Charles III’s coronation on May 6, is on its way to Westminster Abbey in London on Friday, leaving Scotland for the first time in a quarter century.

A ceremony took place Thursday evening at Edinburgh Castle to mark the departure of this block of sandstone symbol of the Scottish monarchy and brought back from Scotland as war booty by Edward I in the 14th century.

After a high-security journey, the 300-pound stone will rest in its place under King Edward’s Chair, an oak throne more than two meters high, which has been at the center of coronations for over 700 years.

Briefly stolen by Scottish students during a daring epic in 1950, the stone was symbolically returned to Scotland in 1996, in the midst of the rise of independence sentiment. But it is agreed that she will return from Edinburgh Castle to Westminster for the coronations.

After the stone’s departure ceremony, Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf, who is aiming to lead Scotland to independence and leave the fold of the British monarchy, hailed a “historic moment” to which he said “nice” to take part.

According to legend, the stone was transported from the Holy Land through Egypt, Sicily, Spain and Ireland before being placed in a monastery in Scone, Scotland, in the 9th century, and then be used for centuries for the coronations of Scottish kings.

But, believes David Breeze, professor of history and archeology at the University of Edinburgh, it is very likely that it actually came from the kingdom of the Scottish Picts.

“The origin of the stone has long been steeped in myth,” the historian told Times Radio.

“The link with the Middle East is strong and in the Middle Ages the idea that the stone was Jacob’s pillow was used to justify territorial expansion,” he explains.

“We believe the connection to Scone is strong and it is highly likely that she traces her origins to the ancient Pictish kingdom in Scotland.”

According to Historic Environment Scotland, the body keeping the stone, scientific analyzes have confirmed that it was the very one taken from Scone by King Edward I.

He had ordered it to be incorporated into the coronation chair in 1296.

“Edward was making a statement about the status of Scotland,” said Ewen Cameron, professor of Scottish history at the University of Edinburgh.

“A chronicler had asserted that his transfer to London was in recognition of a conquered and surrendered kingdom. »

The stone remained at Westminster Abbey for most of the next 650 years, until Christmas Eve 1950, when a group of Scottish students embarked on a daring undertaking: to recover it.

After the larceny, a manhunt with dams on the Anglo-Scottish border had been triggered but its authors had already succeeded in passing the stone to the north.

They then said that they had secretly had to use the services of a stonecutter to restore it after a fall when they were transporting it to their car.

The stone was later found at Arbroath Abbey, where the nation of Scotland was proclaimed in 1320 under King Robert I of Scotland

It was brought back to London in 1951, where it regained its place under the throne for the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.

One of the students, Ian Hamilton, began to arouse the suspicions of police when investigators discovered he had taken all the books he could on Westminster Abbey from a library in Glasgow.

The four students, hailed as national heroes, will never be prosecuted.

Ian Hamilton, who became one of Scotland’s most respected lawyers, died aged 97 last year.

His book, titled “The Taking of the Stone of Destiny”, was brought to the screen in Stone of Destiny with comedian Charlie Cox.

The Stone returned to Edinburgh in 1996, on the condition that she go to London again for the coronations.