‘Mystical’ Stone of Destiny is a TV star
The Stone of Destiny played its part on a TV show this week - with Captain Kirk himself speculating that it may have a “mystic power”.
The UneXplained on Sky History is presented by William Shatner and on Tuesday its focus was on rocks that have inspired awe.
He was joined by a number of commentators who speculated on the likes of the Koh-I-Noor diamond, the Black Stone in Mecca and the Mitchell-Hedges skull, as well as Perthshire’s own Stone of Destiny.
Introducing it as the Stone of Scone - but mispronouncing Scone - Shatner and the experts take us through a potted history of the artefact - which Shatner described as an “unremarkable slab of rock” - and its legend.
The piece started with the myth that the stone was the Stone of Jacob in the Bible and was taken to Ireland and then Scotland, although studies suggest it was mined in Perthshire.
The show then says that “according to Scottish legend” the stone itself proclaimed Kenneth McAlpine the first King of Scots in 840AD, saying that being crowned on the stone meant a monarch had been selected by God.
Shatner said: “For centuries the Stone of Destiny was considered not just one of the greatest treasures in all of Scotland, but also a legitimate means by which someone could rule a country, which is why, in 1296, the English monarch Edward I wanted it and the Scottish throne all to himself.”
The show claims that “one of the first things” Edward did was take the Stone of Destiny rather than other riches.
It was then, of course, incorporated into the coronation chair.
Also covering the theft of the stone in 1950, the cast speculate on whether it is the original that was returned and whether Elizabeth II was crowned on the Stone of Destiny, before turning to its return to Scotland - but not Perthshire - in 1996.
One of the experts then observes that even in a modern country, future monarchs will still be crowned on the Stone of Destiny.
Shatner finished the show by asking: “Could the Stone of Scone really posses a mystical power, or is its power merely based on a legend, a fairytale meant to inspire awe in the weak minded?”
Perth is still waiting to find out if the city’s bid to bring the stone back to its home region has been successful, or whether it will remain in Edinburgh Castle. Its original home was Scone Palace, the ancient crowning place of Scottish kings - assuming it had not been brought via Ireland from the Middle East.