The local bus drops us at the driveway to Scone Palace about 10 minutes from town. (Scone rhymes with raccoon.) After a 15 minute walk down the drive we come to the gate of the palace grounds. Since a tour bus beats us to the door, we divert our attention to the expansive grounds which include a graveyard, gardens, and the Star Maze.
The Star Maze is a five-pointed walk-through maze with eight foot tall hedges to prevent taking shortcuts or peeking over the tops of hedgerows to figure out the solution to finding the exit. It is not recommended that people with poor spatial ability take on the maze challenge. People have gotten stuck in the maze which typically leads to a panic attack and cries for help.
Scone Palace fell into disrepair in the 1800’s, and it might have been left to crumble had not the then Earl of Mansfield realized the tourist value of the place. The castle was completely refurbished and now gets thousands of tourists every year. This site is where the coronation of kings took place dating back a thousand years to the time of Macbeth and Robert the Bruce.
The Stone of Scone, the ceremonial seat for coronations, was removed by Edward I in 1296 with the spoils of war and placed in Westminster Abbey. The stone was shelved under the royal throne to symbolize English monarchs sitting above the kings of Scotland. This never did sit well with the independent-minded Scots. There was talk of moving the stone back to Scotland in the 1300’s. However, riotous crowds prevented the moving of the stone from Westminster Abbey, and it remained in London for another 600 years.
On Christmas Day, 1950, group of four University of Glasgow students stole the stone from Westminster Abbey and braved roadblocks to return the stone to Scotland. They were not caught, but the stone was damaged during the heist and broke in two. Thinking the Church of Scotland would not allow the stone’s return, the students left the stone on the steps of Arbroath Abbey in April, 1951. When the British authorities were notified, they took possession of the stone and returned it to Westminster Abbey.
In 1996, in response to growing dissatisfaction among Scots with the British Parliament, Queen Elizabeth II had the stone moved to Edinburgh Castle, where it remains today. It is only moved to London for coronation ceremonies of which the Stone of Destiny as it has come to be known, has been a part for a thousand years.