Perth faces a bitter battle for one of Scotland’s greatest treasures, The Courier can reveal.
Council chiefs in the Fair City have been working for more than two years on their bid to reclaim the Stone of Destiny.
They want the ancient crowing seat of Scottish kings returned to Perthshire after a 700-year absence, to become a centrepiece at the new look City Hall which is set to open in 2021.
But Perth’s grand plan could be thwarted by bosses at Edinburgh Castle, who want the stone to stay as part of their own collection.
It has emerged the royally-appointed Commissioners of the Regalia has received pleas from both Perth and Kinross Council and Edinburgh Castle for the stone.
The organisation was made responsible for the safe-keeping of the artefact, in the event it needs to be taken to Westminster Abbey for any future coronation. It is expected to make a ruling on who gets to keep the stone in the new year.
Any move will ultimately be decided by The Queen.
Charles Kinnoull, chairman of Culture Perth and Kinross, said: “The main difference between the two bids is that having the stone at Edinburgh Castle means that visitors will have to pay to see it.
“We want to bring it to Perth so that it is freely available to everyone.”
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Historic Environment Scotland, which operates Edinburgh Castle, declined to comment on the bid. “Any proposal regarding the Stone of Destiny would be a matter for the Commissioners of the Regalia as per the 1996 Royal Warrant,” a spokeswoman said.
The Scottish Government confirmed that proposals regarding the Stone of Destiny from Perth and Kinross Council and Historic Environment Scotland were being considered by the Commissioners body. “A decision will be made in due course,” a spokeswoman said.
Perth and Kinross Council announced its plan to reclaim the Stone of Scone in June 2016.
It was based at Scone for hundreds of years where it was used as the seat on which the kings of Scotland were anointed.
However, it is reputed to date back to the biblical era, when it is said to have been used as Jacob’s pillow.
The stone has also been linked to St Columba, who is believed to have used it as a travelling altar.
It is thought to have been removed from Scone by Edward I of England in 1296 and taken to Westminster Abbey, where it was incorporated into England’s coronation throne.
However, some believe that the stone taken by Edward was a fake, substituted by the abbot of Scone.
It was famously stolen by four Glasgow University students on Christmas Day in 1950 and left, draped in a Scottish flag at Arbroath Abbey.
It was picked up by police and returned to Westminster in time for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.
On St Andrew’s Day 1996, the stone was returned to Scotland, where it has stayed on display, alongside the Honours of Scotland, in Edinburgh Castle.