Activists shut down Edinburgh Castle smashing open the case holding The Stone of Destiny

Campaign group This Is Rigged claimed to be behind the attack

Barney Davis
Wednesday 15 November 2023 19:15 GMT
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Related video: The story behind the ‘Stone of Destiny’ and its role in King Charles’ Coronation

Edinburgh Castle was placed in lockdown as activists smashed the case containing The Stone of Destiny.

Protest groups reportedly smashed the glass case that houses the Stone of Destiny in a protest demanding action on the cost of living crisis in Scotland.

Campaign group This Is Rigged claimed to be behind the attack.

A spokesperson said: “We targeted the Stone of Destiny because Scotland is at a critical point in its history. The reality of our present day is deeply concerning: A quarter of Scotland’s population have experienced food insecurity in the past year. A thousand children were rushed to hospital with acute symptoms of malnutrition.

“Meanwhile Tesco and Sainsbury’s handed shareholders a record breaking £1.2 billion while 1.2 million Scots can’t afford to eat.

“This is morally unacceptable. Food is a human right, hunger is a political choice.”

Edinburgh Castle was placed in lockdown

The Stone of Destiny is an ancient symbol of Scotland’s monarchy, used for centuries in the inauguration of its kings.

It was seized by Edward I‘s forces from Scone during the English invasion of Scotland in 1296, and was used in the coronation of the monarchs of England.

The stone was placed under King Edward’s Chair – on which most subsequent English and then British sovereigns have been crowned

In 1914 it was damaged in a Suffragette bombing campaign which broke the stone of Destiny into two pieces.

The damage wasn’t discovered until Christmas Day 1950, when a group of four Scottish nationalist students removed the sacred object from Westminster Abbey, intending to return it to Scotland.

During the daring raid, the stone was found to be broken. The group buried it in a campsite before burying a large part in a Kent field where they were camping.

Despite the British state searching for the missing artefact the group managed to get it back to the altar of Arbroath Abbey.

It was found by the Metropolitan Police just four months later and returned to Westminster.

But the theft triggered a growing discussion around Scottish identity and in 1996 the British Government announced that the stone would return to Scotland - 700 years after it was first taken.

The Stone of Destiny had a key role in the coronation of King Charles

Today the red sandstone is one of the priceless treasures on display in the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle. It is said the stone will only leave Scotland again for a coronation in Westminster Abbey.

This Is Rigged added: “Civil disobedience isn’t an artefact, inaccessible behind glass, a relic of the past. It is the core of Scotland’s heritage - The Stone of Destiny was repatriated to Scotland from Westminster Abbey in 1950 by 4 students from the University of Glasgow. Two Glasgow students have broken the glass to demand a better future for the people of Scotland.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 10.45am we were called to a report of a small protest within Edinburgh Castle.

“Officers attended and two women aged 20 and 24 years, and a 20-year-old man were arrested in connection with damage caused.

“Enquiries are ongoing.”

In March, This Is Rigged smashed the glass holding Braveheart aka William Wallace’s sword demanding an end to all new fossil fuel projects in Scotland.

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