Every crowned monarch since 1308 has sat in this chair for their coronation. Henry V, Richard III, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Charles I and Queen Victoria all sat here to be crowned. So did the present Queen Elizabeth II.
The Stone of Scone was housed in a compartment under the throne from 1297 to December 1950, when four students from Glasgow University decided to steal it and return it to its original home in Scotland.
Some hours after midnight on Christmas Day, three of them broke into Westminster Abbey while the fourth waited outside in the getaway car. Ian Hamilton led the way to the Coronation Chair:
‘A light glowed dimly at the west end of the nave, but the rest was in black darkness. We went down the transept in silent hurry, and found that the gate in the metal grill was open. We crept through and round and up into the Confessor’s chapel. We did not listen for the watchman, for we might have heard him coming. At least, we would touch the Stone.
‘The chapel was in darkness. The glimmer from my torch showed the glass doors into the sanctuary as black sheets, and I hastily turned it to the side where it shone wanly on the green marble tomb of Edward I, whose dead bones Robert the Bruce had feared more than he feared any living Englishman.’
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 86. The three Scotsmen began to remove the Stone of Scone from the compartment underneath the Coronation Chair. What happened next ?