Becoming a king or queen means a big lavish celebration with lots of fancy traditions. Scottish ceremonies were no different - monarchs here wore a jewel encrusted crown, while holding an elaborate sword and a sceptre.

Edinburgh Castle blue sky

The Honours of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny were both used throughout history in the crowning of Scottish, English and British monarchs. They might date back hundreds of years, but they've been well looked after and you can still see them on display today at Edinburgh Castle (pictured).

Honours of Scotland

  Honours of Scotland Edinburgh Castle

  • These are Scotland's crown jewels.
  • It's the collective name for a jewel encrusted crown, an elaborate sword and a sceptre.
  • They date from the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • They are the oldest regalia in the British Isles (the emblems of royalty).


  • They were first used together to crown the infant Mary Queen of Scots at Stirling Castle in 1543.
  • They were then also used at the coronations of James VI in 1567, Charles 1 in 1633 and, for the last time, Charles II in 1651.
  • They were hidden in the mid-17th century to keep them safe from Oliver Cromwell.
  • Firstly they were hidden at Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire, then were smuggled out during a siege and buried a few miles away in Kinneff parish church for nine years - until the monarchy was restored in 1660.
  • They were then used at sittings of the first Scottish Parliament to represent the monarch.
  • After the Treaty of Union in 1707, they weren't needed so, just like in a fairytale, they were locked away in a chest in Edinburgh Castle and forgotten about for over 100 years.
  • It wasn't until 1818 when pressure from Sir Walter Scott brought about a search for them in the castle that they were found.
  • They were hidden again during the Second World War for fear of a Nazi invasion.
  • In total, they've been hidden away three times.

Stone of Destiny

Scone Palace

  • It's not known exactly where the Stone of Destiny came from.
  • Theories include biblical origins or the stone being made in Scotland.
  • It's actually quite plain and unremarkable in appearance - unlike its colourful history.
  • It's been used for enthroning Scottish monarchs at Iona, Dunadd and Scone.
  • It's on display at Edinburgh Castle, alongside the Honours of Scotland, and you can also see a replica stone in the grounds of Scone Palace in Perthshire (pictured).


  • In 1292 John Balliol was the last king to use the Stone of Destiny.
  • In 1296 it was captured by Edward I of England and taken to Westminster Abbey in London.
  • It sat under the coronation chair, where English and British sovereigns sit during their coronation, for 700 years.
  • On Christmas Day 1950, four nationalist Scottish students removed the stone from Westminster Abbey and brought it back to Scotland. After a public outcry, it was found a few months later at Arbroath Abbey, draped in a Saltire, and taken back to Westminster Abbey by the police.
  • It was last used at the coronation of HM The Queen in 1953.
  • On St Andrews Day (30 November) 1996, the Stone of Destiny was returned to Scotland amid much ceremony and celebration and put in Edinburgh Castle alongside the Honours of Scotland. About 10,000 people lined the Royal Mile in Edinburgh to watch a procession of dignitaries and troops escort the stone from the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the bottom of the mile, to the castle.