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"The Cludgie Stane of Destiny”
By Robbie the Pict


Extract from the remarkable correspondence with authorities, in that delightful book by Robbie the Pict, which led to the UK Government returning the Stone of Destiny to Edinburgh, Scotland. The Stone, used in the coronation of Scottish Kings, was taken from Scone by Edward the First of England in 1296. Its return was agreed under the Treaty of Northampton 1328, but the English Government did not honour that treaty. It remained under the throne of England in Westminster Abbey until 1996.

In 1950, four Scottish students took the stone from Westminster Abbey, in a daring venture, and brought it to Scotland in demonstration of the country’s national aspirations. They later returned the stone at Arbroath Abbey. The authorities decided not to prosecute the four, out of fear of the reaction of the Scottish people, and doubts about how a court case might go. Their official excuse was that ‘ownership’ of the stone might be difficult to prove.

But in 1996 (following the letters reproduced below), at the instigation of Michael Forsyth, then Conservative MP for Stirling, and Secretary of State for Scotland, Prime Minister John Major announced that the Stone would be returned to Scotland. Subsequent to the announcement, the Stone was delivered to Edinburgh Castle on November 15 1996.

The letters reproduced in the following account tell how a remarkable Scot, Robbie the Pict, challenged the Police, and legal authorities, the Government, the Monarchy, and the Dean of Westminster, about the theft and the reset or retention of the stolen property, and demanded its return to Scotland. It is a fascinating and amusing story.

The material is reproduced by permission of the author, Robbie the Pict. Any readers wishing to get a copy of the book may obtain it for 5. Cheques should be sent to ‘Robbie the Pict’, Fordside House, Broadford, Isle of Skye, IV49 9AB, Scotland, UK.

The correspondence, with author’s notes, follows below:

First things first. Has anyone ever reported the Stone as stolen?

To: The Chief Constable of Perthshire
c/o Police Station
SCONE, Perth County

November 6th, 1993

Dear Sir,

As one of the five million plus joint-owners, I wish to report the theft of a large stone, known as the `Coronation Stone' or `Stone of Destiny', from the Abbey or Palace of Scone.

With every respect for your professional expertise, I can contribute the following information in the hope that it may be of assistance to you in your enquiries.

The stone measures approximately 26" x 17" x 11" and is of dull reddish sandstone with a few small embedded pebbles, perhaps quartz and lydian. A mason might describe it as calcareous freestone. It has iron rings attached to each end and the whole weighs about 336lbs.

The stone is believed to have been stolen in 1296 by an Edward Longshanks, also known as Edward `the First', born on June 17, 1239 in Westminster, Middlesex, England. The same individual is also believed to be responsible for the murder of a Scotsman by the name of William Wallace in 1305.

There are three contemporary accounts of the theft: in the Chronicle of William Rishanger, on page 168; in the Metrical Chronicle of Harding; and in the Chronicle of Hemingford who quotes Longshanks as saying that the stone shall be taken "as a sign that the (Scottish) Kingdom had been conquered and resigned". However, the most damning evidence would seem to be available from the thief's own records. Edward `the First' apparently kept something called a `wardrobe account' which in the year 1300 shows an entry detailing a payment of 1/19/7d for the adaption of Longshanks' chair to enable the Scottish Coronation Stone to be fitted underneath it.

As to the present location of the stone, there is a popular suspicion that it lingers yet under the Kingdom of England's throne in Westminster Abbey, London, which, if it were true, would render either the Church of England or the present monarch of England guilty of the offence of resetting stolen property. Which particular criminal charges might be preferred is, of course, a matter for the Procurator Fiscal but I have every confidence that the report which the Perthshire Constabulary will be able to submit can be such a model of both independent integrity and thorough investigation as to secure at least the return of the stone to Scone, if not the conviction of those guilty of reset.

I would be obliged if you would advise me of the name of the officer whom you appoint to investigate this most important matter. In the circumstances, no reward is being offered but in the event of the stone being successfully and permanently returned to the

Sovereign People of Scotland I understand that a considerable sum of money will be donated to the B.B.C. `Children in Need' Fund.

Yours faithfully,

Robbie the Pict.

I was still figuring out how in practice we might raise some funds by touring the Stone around the country when almost by return post a letter arrived from Perth. I remember thinking 'This will give us a whiff of how the proper channels might be.)

From: Chief Superintendent J A MACKAY
Tayside Police
PERTH

11th November, 1993

Dear Sir,

I refer to your letter of 6 November 1993 and I have to advise you that there is no intention of conducting any enquiry of this nature.

Yours faithfully

J A MACKAY

Predictable response from the police in the circumstances but the reply bears one of Mr Major's nice new Charter Marks. They are of course irrelevant to the subjects of the Kingdom of Scotland but since Major does not generally understand that citizens are the product of parliamentary supremacy, a concept alien to Scotland, we will play along.

To: The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London WC1
England

30th November, 1993

Dear Mr Major,

This being Saint Andrew's Day, may I bring to your attention a matter of concern to many people in Scotland which you, in your capacity as chief executive of the Crown, should be able to resolve both justly and quickly.

On 6th November 1993 I wrote to the Scottish police concerning the theft of the Scottish Coronation Stone and a Chief Superintendent of the Tayside Police replied on 11th November that there would be no investigation of this theft. (Copies of the correspondence are enclosed).

Now although I can understand you thinking that this is a somewhat belated complaint, I must assure you that this stone is something dear to the hearts of the Scottish People and there seems to be no legal justification for denying them the return of what is unquestionably their legitimate property - were it not so, the persons responsible for trying to recover the stone in 1950 would surely have been charged with theft, which did not happen.

However, it could be said from one perspective that they had taken the law into their own hands and I must assure you that I have no intention of doing so. Since seeing the publication of your Justice Charter for Scotland, I am encouraged to pursue the matter through the proper channels, previously unavailable to us. I was particularly heartened by the affirmations on page 5 regarding `public expectations', where it states that "The People of Scotland can expect their police `to detect offenders and report them promptly to the Procurator Fiscal' and `to act without fear, favour or prejudice'. You will therefore understand my dismay and confusion when Mr Mackay's letter came back with your Charter Mark on it, yet failing to fulfil these promises.

I would therefore urge you to rectify this blatant disregard for the principles and detail of your charter and I would further call upon you to honour the Treaty of Northampton of 1328, an instrument of which was that `The stone on which the Kings of Scots were wont to sit at their coronation, and which had been carried away by Edward I, should be restored to the Scots.' I believe it reflects badly on all nations of the British Isles if England so obviously dishonours an international treaty. If England needs a coronation stone as such, I believe there is a West Saxon coronation stone, which would be historically more appropriate, standing in a circle of iron railings in Kingston-upon Thames High Street, and whose employment would be more celebrated than resented.

I cannot guarantee canonisation, but I assure you that you would earn your place in Scottish history as a Prime Minister who had demonstrated justness and wisdom toward the People of Scotland.

Yours faithfully

Robbie the Pict

From: The Correspondence Secretary
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

9 December 1993

Dear Mr Pict,

The Prime Minister has asked me to thank you for your recent letter which is receiving attention. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Mrs J Crawley

More than a month goes by. A little reminder is apparently required.

To: The Prime Minister
LONDON
England

12th January, 1994

Dear Mr Major,

Thank you for the courteous acknowledgement of receipt of my letter of the 30th of November last year.

However I must draw your attention to the fact that more than a month has elapsed since the penning of that communication and to date there has been no further elucidation of the Crown Executive's position regarding this considerable `affair of state'.

I urge you not to underestimate the public interest in Scotland in securing justice in this matter.

Yours faithfully.

Robbie the Pict

From: The Scottish Office
Management, Organisation and Industrial Relations Division
EDINBURGH

13 January 1994

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter of 30 November 1993 to the Prime Minister regarding the Scottish Coronation Stone. Your letter has been passed to The Scottish Office and I have been asked to reply.

You enclosed with your letter copies of your correspondence with the Tayside Police regarding the Stone and your belief that it was stolen from the Palace of Scone in 1296. It would appear that the Police do not believe an offence has taken place. Neither the Prime Minister nor the Secretary of State has power to direct the Police in the investigation of offences, which is the responsibility of the Lord Advocate and the Procurator Fiscal.

With regard to the present siting of the Stone you may be interested to know that in 1951 following the Stone's return to Westminster Abbey the Government of the day considered carefully where it should be kept. In view of the Stone's association with the Coronations the conclusion reached was that it should remain with the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey. It is felt that the presence of the Stone of Destiny at Westminster is a potent and continuing reminder of Scotland's distinctive place within the United Kingdom.

Yours faithfully

M NEALE

Desperate twisting of the Police response. Clutching at straws. Are the Police happy with this interpretation? Why does the Chief Executive of the Crown have no power to direct his own political appointee? A potent and continuing reminder indeed.

To: The Chief Superintendent
Tayside Police
Perth

13 April 1994

Dear Mr Mackay,

Thank you for your letter of 11th November, 1993, which I read with interest. Obviously a matter of such significance to the People of Scotland is not respectfully served by a two-line dismissal from a policeman so the subject was then raised with the gentleman who was responsible for introducing your `charter' scheme. (Enc. 1).

He, in turn, referred the matter to the Scottish Office (Enc. 2) but this response puts a very different slant on the matter. The critical sentence is, of course, "It would appear that the Police do not believe an offence has taken place." Quite understandably, the Scotsman of January 26th reported this as the Tayside Police officially ruling `no theft' after almost 700 years. However, this spurious interpretation of your original response is compounded in its obfuscation by a declaration of impotency to direct the police, which, although legally appropriate to Scotland, makes a mockery of any type of redress of grievance through citation of chartered promises. This puts the ball firmly back in your court and your position badly needs clarification.

I would understand from your letter that you were wilfully refusing to conduct an enquiry, despite a complaint from a member of the public, but you were not identifying the reason(s) for your refusal. You are, of course, entitled to think that the enquiry is time-barred, frivolous, political or whatever and the People would just have to work from there. The reply from the Scottish Office, however, goes further than that and credits you with a professional evaluation, namely "no offence has taken place". They also seem happy to stand behind this dubiously constructed barricade and thus justify a complete failure to adequately respond to a wholly legitimate complaint. I believe that these same `authorities' would be quick to advise people to `go through the proper channels'.

Therefore, in pursuit of the proper channel, I must ask you if you accept the interpretation which has been credited to you by the Scottish Office. As a Chief Superintendent of the Tayside Police are you content to go on record as saying to the People of Scotland that as regards the question of the alleged theft of the Stone of Destiny from Scone Palace it is your belief that no offence has taken place?

If you are not content to be thus credited I invite you to clarify your position. Many thanks for your time and considerations.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie the Pict.

From: Chief Superintendent J A MACKAY
Tayside Police
PERTH

19 April, 1994

Dear Sir

Thank you for your letter of 13 April 1994, with enclosures.

I note your detailed views on the matter and your comments in the penultimate paragraph. I wish to draw your attention to the fact that my only comment on the subject was contained in my letter to you dated 11 November 1993. Again I must advise you that there is no intention of conducting an enquiry of the nature suggested.

Yours faithfully

J A MACKAY

Thank you Chief Superintendent. I thought that was what you said. Let's draw this shabby sophistry to the attention of the man on whose behalf it purports to be written.

To: The Prime Minister
LONDON
England.

April 25th, 1994.

Dear Mr Major,

I wrote to you on November 30th, 1993, concerning the theft of the Scottish Coronation Stone by the King of England in 1296. You forwarded my letter to your office in Scotland and I have since received a reply dated January 13th, 1994, from an `M. Neale', whose function is not identified, of the `Management, Organisation and Industrial Relations Division'. Belying the spirit of chartered accountability, the author of this letter justifies his stone-walling of the question in two equally repulsive and unprincipled fashions.

Firstly, he interprets Chief Superintendent Mackay's reply as the Police not believing that an offence has taken place. Aside of being manipulative buck-passing, this looks like deceitful interpretation only and one must ask why, of all the possible reasons that might exist for Mr Mackay's advice that there is no intention of conducting any enquiry, M. Neale chooses this particular one. One must point out to M. Neale that Mr Mackay employs the present tense and in the same way that a Government Minister says that he cannot foresee any circumstances in which he would be involved in a leadership challenge, one is obliged to point out that things can change. However, the writer goes on to compound this sad sophistry by suggesting that the responsibility for investigation lies with the Lord Advocate and the Procurator Fiscal, as they would now seem to be obliged to do without fear or favour, never mind under Scottish legal procedure.

A second fetid odour from this reply arises when M. Neale writes that the present location of the Stone is `a potent and continuing reminder of Scotland's distinctive place within the United Kingdom'. Having previously identified the English king's motive of deliberately placing the Stone underneath the throne of England as a perhaps more potent reminder of the Kingdom of Scotland being `conquered and resigned' I confess to not knowing whether this comment is determined ignorance or malicious sarcasm. Either way, I consider it to be highly offensive to the Scottish People and it takes no account of what their wishes might be concerning the re-siting of the Stone after the last attempt to return it to its lawful owners.

Following the new proper channel indicated by M. Neale, I will alert both the Lord Advocate and the local Procurator Fiscal to the inactivity of the chartered Police but I feel that you could simplify and shorten the proceedings considerably if, in your capacity as Chief Executive, you were to instruct the appropriate people to do the proper thing, according to your Justice Charter if not simply common decency or even Scottish Common Law.

Although M. Neale claims that you do not have this power, it would be more pragmatic to accept that the powers of Walpole's unconstitutional creation, the office of Prime Minister, prevail at least over its employees as long as Scotland is subjected to the alien burden of English parliamentary sovereignty. You must enjoy both a legal and moral right to be able to honour your charters in the meanwhile.

I enclose copies of my recent correspondence with Chief Superintendent Mackay.

Yours faithfully,

Robbie the Pict

The Scottish Office
Management, Organisation and Industrial Relations Division
EDINBURGH

9 May 1994

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your further letter of 25 April to the Prime Minister concerning the Scottish Coronation Stone. Your letter has been passed to the Scottish Office and your comments have been noted.

Yours faithfully

M MELROSE

This reply came in an envelope which was franked to give a new local-rate telephone number for the Scottish Office, seeming to invite the people to call directly and get straight answers to straight questions. I found out later that the public, perhaps jaundiced with chronic cynicism, never used the service but I thought I would try it anyway. Within a few moments the said Mrs Melrose became very uncomfortable and eventually confessed that she didn't know anything about the constitution and she had no qualifications in Law. 'Passed to the Scottish Office' turned out to mean only that it had arrived in her office and the sum total of her action on behalf of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on a significant affair of state was to note my comments. Grossly inadequate attitude, blending smug ignorance with imperial arrogance. Beginning to replicate the 'Homo Sovieticus' mentality which I had wrestled with for a year in post-Soviet Estonia.

The Scottish Office
Management, Organisation and Industrial Relations Division
James Craig Walk
Edinburgh
EH1 3BA

23 May 1994

Dear Sir

I refer to your recent telephone conversation with Mrs Melrose during which you asked for a more substantive response to your letter of 25 April to the Prime Minister than that given in Mrs Melrose's letter of 9 May.

There is in fact little that can be added to what was said in my letter of 13 January which was issued in response to your earlier letter of 30 November 1993 to the Prime Minister. The Tayside Police have now on 2 occasions informed you that they have no intention of conducting any enquiry of the nature as suggested by you. The Prime Minister, as I said in my letter of 13 January cannot direct the police to carry out an investigation:- that as you know is a matter for the Lord Advocate and the Procurator Fiscal.

With regard to the present siting of the Stone, I assure you that the remarks made in my letter of 13 January were not in any way meant to be offensive or sarcastic. They were simply a statement of the reasons that lay behind the decision made by the government of the day in 1951 to keep the Stone at Westminster. They should not therefore be interpreted as being a comment on the view held by yourself and others that the Stone should be situated elsewhere. The sincerity and strength of your views on this subject is fully recognised.

Finally, I understand from Mrs Melrose that you are unhappy that your letters have not received a personal reply from the Prime Minister. May I explain that the Prime Minister receives many thousands of letters from members of the public each week covering a wide range of subjects. In these circumstances it is not possible, as I am sure you will agree, for each letter to receive a personal reply from the Prime Minister or to be dealt with by his office. Most letters therefore are quickly passed to the department responsible for the subject matter of the letter to consider and issue a reply.

Yours sincerely

M NEALE

OK another dead end bunch. Change of tack.

The Procurator Fiscal
PERTH

23 June 1994

Dear Sir,

I enclose copies of correspondence relevant to the pursuit of justice in the question of the theft of the Coronation Stone of Scotland from Scone Abbey, in your jurisdiction, in 1296.

As you can see, the Scottish Office has identified your office twice as the proper channel through which to pursue this matter.

This letter is thus a formal request that you arrange the recovery of the Coronation Stone, under the terms of the Treaty of Northampton/Edinburgh of 1328 if necessary, or, if you feel that you do not have the authority to recover this type of stolen property from a place as politically sensitive as England, please forward this complaint to the Lord Advocate for Scotland. The responsibility must lie somewhere or the Justice Charter is a worthless insult to our intelligence.

I thank you for your time and considerations.

Yours faithfully,

Robbie the Pict.

Procurator Fiscal's Office
52 Tay Street
PERTH

24 June 1994

Dear Sir

I refer to your letter dated 23 June 1994 and acknowledge receipt of the copy correspondence which you enclosed.

I have decided to comply with your request in its alternative form and have today forwarded your complaint to the Lord Advocate.

Yours faithfully

I A McLeod
Procurator Fiscal

Decent and proper response. Well done the Fiscal!

Law Officers' Secretariat
Crown Office
25 Chambers Street
Edinburgh

19 July 1994

Dear Sir

I refer to your letter of 23 June 1994 addressed to the Procurator Fiscal at Perth. The letter has been passed to this office for attention.

We do not intend to instruct either the Procurator Fiscal or the police to enquire into this matter.

Yours faithfully

L M TAGGART
Law Officers' Secretariat

Now there is a surprise. If the Lord Advocate for Scotland will not attempt to recover one of Scotland's most significant State possessions let's see what the Monarch in whose name he acts has to say about the justice of that decision.

Buckingham Palace
LONDON
England
SW1

23 October, 1994

Your Majesty,

I regret to say that I have to write to Your Majesty as a last resort in an attempt to secure justice regarding the retrieval of the Stone of Destiny, unlawfully removed from Scone Abbey in 1296.

Given that, on the last two occasions on which persons have tried to recover the property they have been treated as criminals, I decided to present the argument for the just and proper return of stolen property on paper and pursue justice through `the proper channels'. (I enclose the relevant correspondence).

In short, the government's Justice Charter for Scotland is proved worthless in that there is no intention to investigate `without fear or favour' and, in truth, I will be pleasantly surprised if you yourself actually exert your personal authority on this question, even when you are personally involved, I have become used to a bland reply from a robotic civil servant in the `Scottish' Office.

However, I try to continue to believe in justice as a fundamental principle of civilisation so I have to ask you, on behalf of myself and the other people of Scotland, to instruct the appropriate authorities to return this piece of property to Scotland where it must be held in public trust until the people decide what they want to do with it.

Yours faithfully,

Robbie the Pict
 

Buckingham Palace

4th November, 1994.

Dear Mr. Pict,

I am commanded by The Queen to thank you for your letter of 23rd October about the Stone of Destiny.

Her Majesty appreciates receiving views and comments from the many people who write to her, and your particular letter has been carefully noted. I should perhaps add, though, that while The Queen has a duty and a right to express her views to her Government, her position as a constitutional Sovereign also requires Her Majesty to act on the advice of her Ministers. The Queen would not, therefore, intervene publicly in matters such as the one you have raised, where responsibility rests with Ministers. As you have already received a reply from the Scottish Office, Her Majesty is unable to help you further.

Yours sincerely,

(SIMON GIMSON)

Her Majesty would appear to be standing on the stool of monarchial privilege only available to her in her capacity as Queen of England. Fine, as we always suspected she was as heart, but will she be drawn on this?

Buckingham Palace
LONDON
England

31 March 1995

Your Majesty,

Thank you for your letter of 4 November 1994, the contents of which I have now had the chance to evaluate.

Your reply is of great interest because it identifies what you believe to be your constitutional position, that of acting primarily and fundamentally as the Queen of England. It is understood that, technically speaking, there has been no such entity as the Queen of England or the country or Kingdom of England since 1707, or even of Great Britain since 1800, but nonetheless the People of England seem to think of you as their queen first and foremost, and they are to a great extent followed by the world in this respect. A Queen of Scots, within the terms of our cultural tradition, would have had the constitutional authority to challenge the illegal imposition of the 'Poll Tax' in Scotland one year prior to its application in England. This enactment remains a clear breach of Article 18 of the Treaty of Union.

Failure to defend the People of Scotland against their being used for political experimentation was to bow entirely to the English Bill of Rights of 1689, and its shifting of sovereignty from monarch to parliament (an act prior to the Treaty of Union and irrelevant to Scotland). To allow yourself to be described as a 'constitutional Sovereign' essentially subject to the 'advice of her Ministers' is to adopt the traditional stance of only the Queen of England. This point is made not to be critical but simply to illustrate the constitutional impossibility of wedding the helms of incompatible ships. People in Scotland who have resisted the Poll Tax are being hounded for payment under threat of the public sale of their household effects. This is done in the name of 'the Crown' which is the symbol of Westminster authority. A Queen of Scots could not allow this to happen to her People.

On the specific question of the Stone of Scone, our Coronation Stone, your reply refers me, on a constitutional basis, back to ministerial level, a place from which neither justice nor satisfaction has been forthcoming, but this course of action is only appropriate under English Law. Under Scots Law there is no statute of limitation on the crimes of theft and reset of stolen property and both yourself as the person claimed by the Dean of Westminster to be the owner and the Very Reverend Michael Mayne as 'custodier' in Westminster Abbey, are open to the latter charge regarding the Stone of Scone. There is no immunity from prosecution available to the monarch in Scotland. Our tradition is to be a democratic sovereignty within the Law, as even King Robert the Bruce found out to his cost in a Highland court.

It is pointless returning to the Crown ministers or their constables who have clearly displayed their dereliction of duty as regards the recovery of Sovereign Scottish property. The impression given is that they would only respond to a Royal decree. If an appeal to the monarch is equally fruitless, and with the stone being essentially the property of the People, the only remaining course of action is for the matter to be presented to the Scottish Public at large. It must be remembered that 1996 would bring 700 years of English possession of our Coronation Stone and the pride of many Scots will find that prospect unethical and unpalatable.

Regretfully, I am not aware of any surviving coronation stone which can be creditably connected to the history of the Angles, but there is an apparently genuine Saxon coronation stone in Kingston upon Thames High Street. Given that you are clearly in a position to return our Stone without ministerial interference, may I suggest that it is commanded to be placed in the A.K. Bell Public Library in Perth, in trust for the People of Scotland, until such time as the People decide what they want to do with it. By that action the terms of the Treaty of Northampton would be honoured.

Yours faithfully,

Robbie the Pict

Encs. 1. Anderson's Criminal Law of Scotland: Theft
2. Anderson's Criminal Law of Scotland: Reset

Buckingham Palace
London
England

10 May 1995

Your Majesty,

Having received no reply to my letter of the 31st of March, I must assume that you are adhering to the constitutional position which you identified in your letter of 4th of November.

As I stated in my last letter I have no faith in the Crown's Westminster operatives and I am confident that justice would not be served by repeating myself to them. It is clear for all to see that there is no intention of honouring the pledge made in the Justice Charter for Scotland, that crime will be prosecuted without fear or favour, and instead we experience a stark refusal to act at all. It would appear that even the Procurator Fiscal, who did at least make an attempt to place the matter in front of persons responsible, is subject to an insidious political control.

It is further clear for all to see that the Kingdom of England, who-ever is now its sovereign director, has no intention of honouring the terms of the Treaty of Northampton, particularly in regard to recognising the Kingdom of Scotland's sovereign independence and our right to have our Coronation Stone returned.

Given the clarification of the English Crown positions, and given that all recognisable avenues of redress of grievance have been neutered by the enforcement of Westminster parliamentary sovereignty, it is left to a Scottish commoner to speak on behalf of the clear majority of the People of Scotland who consider themselves to be the true inheritors of the Stone of Scone, as opposed to the English Crown.

I must hereby ask that Your Majesty commands that "the stone on which the Kings of Scots were wont to sit at their coronation, and which had been carried away by Edward 1", and which the same treaty said "should be restored to the Scots", be finally returned to Scotland. I must further request that the Stone of Destiny is transported to Letham Village Hall in Angus by midnight on the 19th of May, 1995, in time for the celebration of Dunnichen Day. The 1310th Anniversary of the Battle of Nechtansmere is, of course, on Saturday the 20th of May.

I wish to assure Your Majesty of my total respect for your position as Head of the British Commonwealth, a sentiment I believe to be held by all decent and reasonable people in Scotland, no matter how determined they are that the Kingdom of Scotland should again enjoy its right to sovereign independence and self-determination.

Yours faithfully,

Robbie the Pict

PICTISH FREE STATE PRESS RELEASE
RETURN OF THE STONE OF DESTINY - FIRST ASKING

In November 1993 a campaign was begun to secure the return of the Scottish Coronation Stone by 'going through the proper channels'. The theft of the Stone was therefore reported to the local police but they refused to conduct any enquiry. Similar stonewalling was displayed by the offices of the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Prime Minister, the Lord Advocate for Scotland and the Queen of the United Kingdom. In our view, the only proper response was from the Procurator Fiscal in Perth who forwarded the papers to the Lord Advocate.

In her reply, the Queen has identified government ministers as those responsible for resolving such issues, however she has since been made aware that under Scots Common Law she would be open to arraignment on charges of resetting stolen property, as would her 'custodier', the Very Reverend Michael Mayne, Dean of Westminster Abbey. There is no statute of limitations in Scots Law for the crimes of theft or receiving stolen property: nor can the receiver ever acquire title to an item of stolen property.

As regards 'taking stock' in Scotland, government ministers have totally failed to get anywhere near 'basics' on the longest standing 'law and order' issue between the two kingdoms.

The Stone of Destiny is the symbol of the sovereignty of the People of Scotland and as we approach the real likelihood of the return of the Scottish Parliament, it is proper that the touchstone of statehood is again within the borders of our ancient kingdom.

As instigator of this initiative, I have asked to Queen to organise the return of the Stone of Destiny to Letham Village Hall in Angus, by midnight on Friday, the 19th of May, the eve of Dunnichen Day. This year is the 1310th anniversary of the Battle of Nechtansmere, a rout of the expansionist Ecgfrith and his Angles by King Brude of the Picts.

In the event of the Stone not being returned, other civil forms of campaign will be pursued. In the event of the return of the Stone at any time or in any circumstances, we advocate its placement in the Public Library at Perth, a city which we have previously proposed as the new legislative capital.

Given that the parliamentary representative for Perth and Kinross has not yet been chosen, we feel that candidates for this post can best demonstrate which master they intend to serve by answering 'yes' or 'no' to the question; 'If you were elected, would you lead a campaign for the return of the Stone of Destiny to its home neighbourhood in Scotland?'. We invite supporters of unionist parties whose party loyalty is compromised by this question to abstain in favour of a full- choice referendum concerning the nature of the Scottish Parliament.

Robbie the Pict
Founder, Pictish Free State.

Thank you boys and girls!

BUCKINGHAM PALACE

19th May, 1995

Dear Mr Pict,

Thank you for your letters of 31st March and 10th May.

As I have said in the past, The Queen much appreciates receiving views and comments from the many people who write to her. Your particular letters concerning the Stone of Destiny have been very carefully noted and I am to thank you again for writing.

I believe that this, therefore, now brings our correspondence on this matter to a close.

Yours sincerely,

(SIMON GIMSON)

Decided to change tack and in my capacity as Secretary of Clan Robertson, an activist wing of the Clan Donnachaidh Society wrote to Raymond and George Robertson. The Stone question was tagged on to the rear of what looked like the serious contemporary political question, the request for a judicial review of the Treaty of Union.

Clan Robertson
County of Perth

Dear Mr Robertson,

This organisation is committed to the restoration of the Kingdom of Scotland's right to act as a self-determining nation.

To this end, we propose a judicial review of the Acts of Union of 1706 and 1707 and support the campaign for the return of the Stone of Destiny to the County of Perth.

Given that yours is one of the voices which must speak for and defend the sovereign rights of the People of Scotland in the parliament of Westminster, can we count on you to give your support to these proposals?

NOTE: At this point the letters differed.

Variation 1. to Raymond R. We note with appreciation that your party, along with the Green Party pressure group, is the only party in Scotland which acknowledges Scotland's right to absolute independence, free of any preconditions which might oblige the People of Scotland into any other form of union.

Variation 2. to George R. We note that even as a Robertson you serve a unionist party based in the English capital. Your party's policy towards questions of Scotland's future seems to consistently dictate to the People without any respect for their wishes. Do you not think that a Constitutional Convention should have allowed for the possibility of the sovereign People wishing to consider absolute Independence? Before you force or foist your parliament on the People would it not be prudent to hold a Scottish Labour Party referendum, prior to any General Election, which included the consideration of full independence. This would both elicit the opinion of your own party membership, which might not be as favourable to control by Westminster as your own, and save any ill-judged or presumptious pronouncements on what the People of Scotland might want.

Yours sincerely,

R.T.P.Robertson
Secretary.

House of Commons
LONDON

June 28th 1995

Dear Mr Robertson,

Thank you for your letter of June 20th. As a proud Scot, I too care deeply about Scotland. That is why I have absolutely no intention of supporting your campaign.

Scotland is thriving as a full and equal partner in the United Kingdom. She is a self-confident and successful nation and has prospered through the Union. I could list a set of statistics to support this case, for example the fact that Scotland exports more per head of population than Japan. I will content myself with pointing out that Scotland after almost 300 years of Union is far more prosperous, innovative and diverse than it was pre 1707.

I will instead ask you one simple question. If Scotland were to become independent, how would you propose to balance the 8 billion deficit which Scotland would face? The figure of 8 billion is not merely a piece of political propaganda. Rather it is the considered view of the House of Commons Library, the independent Fraser of Allander Institute and the Scottish Office. The panacea solution usually offered by nationalists to the deficit problem is that of oil revenues. The harsh fact is that even if Scotland were to receive the total UK Oil revenue (a highly unlikely scenario), then Scotland would still face a spending shortfall of 6.7 billion every year.

I am not sure whether your intention is to paint all those who refuse to support your campaign as unpatriotic Scots. Let me be quite clear. I am Scottish. I am proud to be Scottish and as a patriot I want what is best for Scotland. That is why I will continue to put the case strongly for the Union.

Yours sincerely,

Raymond S. Robertson MP

This man needs psychiatric help! He also demonstrates an abysmal grasp of the basics of International Law. Under such cannons a nation is a unit of personality in law and as such has the universally recognised right of self-determination. Thatcher for example would never admit that Scotland was a nation unless it tried to fill its boots. She only ever conceded that 'Scotland was, along with Wales and Northern Ireland, an integral part of the United Kingdom'. Note the omission of England.

House of Commons
LONDON

30 June 1995

Dear Mr Robertson

Thank you for your letter of 20 June but no you cannot count on my support for these proposals.

I think that judicial review of an Act of Union is a waste of money and time. If there are people in Scotland who wish for a separate Scottish state then they can vote for the separatist party. In its sixty year history it has never managed to gain anything like a majority of the Scottish people.

I appreciate the politeness of your request but cannot feel any sympathy for the cause you are promoting. I am committed to the future of Scotland and making it a strong and vibrant country with its own Parliament firmly inside the United Kingdom. I believe that is what the vast majority of the people of Scotland want and I see it as my historic responsibility to deliver that.

Best wishes.

Yours sincerely

George Robertson

Perhaps this lad could go halfers on both the therapy and the Law School fees.

Decided to solicit the responses from the SNP and the Secretary of State to the same questions, having had coverage in the Herald which gave some credence to the Clan Robertson movement.

Letter to Michael Forsyth which I am still trying to find!

Reply from his Constituency Secretary

18 July 1995

Dear Mr Robertson

Thank you for your recent letter addressed to Mr Forsyth. As this matter falls within the responsibilities of the Scottish Office, I have passed it to his Private Office, and he will reply to you direct from there in due course.

Yours sincerely

Diana Forsyth?

Is the use of the adverb declining terminal?

St Andrew's House
Edinburgh

4 August 1995

Dear Mr Robertson

Thank you for your letter of 14 July regarding the right of the Scottish people to self determination and related matters.

On the question of self-determination I can confirm that the Government's view, which has been expressed on a number of occasions by the Prime Minister, is that no Nation can be held irrevocably in a Union against its will. If, therefore, parties supporting independence received the majority of support in Scotland at a future General Election Parliament would need to consider whether to take legislative action. Ultimately, any decision on independence for Scotland could only be taken by Parliament.

I note that Clan Robertson proposes a judicial review of the Acts of Union of 1706 and 1707. That must be a matter for your organisation but I certainly would not offer any support for such a move. I would say that the Treaty of Union which was ratified by these Acts was by any standpoint a remarkable achievement in that it was entered into voluntarily by two Parliaments. What, perhaps is more remarkable is the fact that these Acts remain in force today, nearly 300 years later, as a basic legal framework for the Union of Scotland and England. Under this framework Scotland's distinctiveness as a Nation has been safeguarded and enhanced whilst at the same time Scotland has benefited from having economic prosperity, security and real influence in the wider world. All of this and more has been achieved through the Union and I strongly believe that we should continue to build on the opportunities that the Union gives Scotland rather than contemplate breaking up the partnership.

Finally I note your organisation's support for the return of the Stone of Destiny to Scotland. Since it was returned to Westminster Abbey in 1951, successive Governments have taken the view that it should remain there as a reminder of Scotland's place in the Union. It is an issue however that does raise strong and sincere feelings in many Scots, and I am conscious of that.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Forsyth.

Calls Scotland a Nation with a capital. Weak on constitutional points. Treaty cannot be ratified by Acts which precede it. The 'treaty' is entirely notional and has never been ratified. Demonstrates chronic kindergarten mentality on the question of nationhood and seems to forget that Edward 1 put the Stone UNDER the English throne deliberately. Less treasonous than Raymond Robertson on the question of the Stone's return.

Letter to Alex Salmond was as per the Robertsons but the variation in the final paragraph ran:

We thank you for your time and consideration, but also have to ask if your chosen political party would give consideration to outright independence, as opposed to another union, should the People so chose?

The Member of Parliament for Banff and Buchan

26th August 1995

Dear R T P Robertson,

Thank you for your letter of 14 July.

The Scottish National Party supports the doctrine of the sovereignty of the Scottish people, and quite clearly it will be up to the people to decide the relationship an independent Scotland would have to various international bodies, such as the EU.

I recently wrote an article for the Herald newspaper in which I called for among other things, the return of the Stone of Destiny to Scotland, and so wish you well in your own campaign.

Yours sincerely

Alex Salmond

Time to take a slightly different line, given the slamming noise from the official portcullis.

27 October, 1995

Procurator Fiscal's Office
52 Tay Street
PERTH

Dear Sir,

I write to request your permission to mount a private prosecution against the Very Reverend Michael Mayne, Dean of Westminster, London, England.

I believe that he is holding, on behalf of The Queen, an item stolen in Scotland from the Abbey in Scone, namely a coronation stone, property of the sovereign People of Scotland.

Although I believe The Queen is arraignable as potentially guilty of resetting stolen property, she has the protection of English constitutional immunity and has already claimed it in correspondence concerning this matter. She thus rejects the tenets of Scots common law.

I am willing to supply you with copies of all relevant correspondence on this subject which has arisen since I last communicated with your office.

Yours faithfully,

Robbie the Pict.

Procurator Fiscal's Office
52 Tay Street
Perth

31 October, 1995

Dear Sir,

I thank you for your letter dated 27 October 1995.

In order to mount a private prosecution in the High Court you require not my permission but that of the Lord Advocate. Accordingly I have sent him a copy of your letter and anticipate that he will be in touch with you shortly.

Yours faithfully

IAIN MCLEOD
Procurator Fiscal

Crown Office
Law Officers' Secretariat
25 Chambers Street
EDINBURGH

4 December 1995

Dear Sir,

You wrote to the Procurator Fiscal at Perth on 27 October requesting his permission to mount a private prosecution against the Dean of Westminster. I have also seen the Procurator Fiscal's reply. I should point out, however, that as the alleged offence is being committed in London, the Scottish courts would not have jurisdiction. Accordingly, quite apart from any concerns over the merits of the matter, I should point out that it would not be competent for either the Lord Advocate or the Procurator Fiscal to concur in a private prosecution.

Yours faithfully

W A GILCHRIST

Rt. Hon. Michael Forsyth M.P.
Secretary of State for Scotland
New St. Andrew's House
EDINBURGH

13 December, 1995

Dear Mr Forsyth,

I have been engaged for over two years in going through the 'proper channels' to secure the return of a property of the sovereign People of Scotland, namely the Stone of Scone, also known as the 'Stone of Destiny'.

Her Majesty the Queen of England makes it quite plain that this is a question for her ministers and thus directly and specifically for you.

As one of the sovereign People of Scotland I must formally ask you to request the return of this stolen property in fulfilment of the terms of the 1328 Treaty of Northampton. The stone is, of course, a litmus test of Scottishness and its denial is a denial of the country, the people, the flag and the sovereignty of Scotland. Your tenure of the office of Secretary of State for Scotland, not to Scotland, encourages me to hope that you will choose which master it is proper and loyal to serve, the alternative being a temptation to treasonous conduct.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie the Pict.

Rt. Hon. Michael Forsyth M.P.
Secretary of State for Scotland
St. Andrew's House
EDINBURGH

31 January, 1996

Dear Mr Forsyth,

I wrote to you on 13 December, 1995 asking you to request the return of the Stone of Destiny on behalf of the People of Scotland, as agreed by the Kingdom of England in the Treaty of Northampton (1328).

To date I have received no reply. Since 6 weeks have now passed and the summer of 1996 would mark seven centuries of illegal holding of the Scottish People's property by the English Royal Family, I must now ask if making no response is your final and official reply.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie the Pict

THE SCOTTISH OFFICE
DOVER HOUSE
WHITEHALL
LONDON SW1A 2AU

29 February 1996

Brian D Robertson Esq
(Robbie the Pict)

Dear Mr Robertson

Thank you for your letters of 13 December and 31 January concerning the resting place of the Stone of Destiny.

I have noted your views.

Yours sincerely

Michael Forsyth

At this point there have been discussions on the Isle of Skye with prominent individuals who are very concerned about the adverse effects of the extortionate Skye Bridge tolls. I bring them up to date with the recovery campaign thus far and an alliance is hatched for the common good of both.

PRESS RELEASE 24 March, 1996 SKETIS HERITAGE TRUST, ISLE OF SKYE
FORMAL PURCHASE OFFER for the STONE OF DESTINY

Deeply concerned by indications of a negative long-term effect on the tourist trade on the Isle of Skye of a 75 toll on tourist buses, and believing that these indications should be responded to before serious damage is done to the good name of Skye world-wide, and,

Considering that the 4 admission charge on top of the considerable expense of travelling from anywhere in Scotland to the south of England is unfair to the People of Scotland who might wish to view their Coronation Stone and,

Noting that 700 years have elapsed since the theft of the Stone in 1296 by the English King Edward 1 and that the Stone is long overdue for return, especially since this was promised by international constitutional contract in the Treaty of Northampton in 1328,

This Trust feels that the Stone of Destiny ought morally and practically to be returned to Scotland, initially to the Isle of Skye, where it would be displayed to the better financial advantage of the People of Scotland and with considerably more dignity.

TO THIS END, WE HEREBY OFFER THE SUM OF A QUARTER OF A MILLION POUNDS STERLING TO THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND, TO DO WITH AS THEY CHOOSE, FOR THE RETURN OF THE SCOTTISH CORONATION STONE OF SCONE, KNOWN AS THE STONE OF DESTINY AND CURRENTLY LOCATED UNDER THE MONARCH OF ENGLAND'S THRONE IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY, LONDON, ENGLAND.

THIS OFFER WILL BE IN EFFECT FOR A PERIOD OF TEN DAYS ONLY, FROM NOON ON THE 26TH DAY OF MARCH 1996 UNTIL NOON ON THE 5TH DAY OF APRIL 1996, THE EVE OF SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE DAY.

The Sketis Heritage Trust, a consortium of five persons with business interests and who live on the Isle of Skye, is an apolitical and unaligned organisation formed solely for the purpose of facilitating the return of the Scottish Coronation Stone, an utterly Scottish cultural and historical artefact. In the event of the Stone being properly returned to the Scottish People as a result of financial arrangements made by the Trust, the Trust proposes to the People that it is permitted to place the Stone on public display in a series of locations, firstly on the Isle of Skye and thereafter throughout the whole of Scotland, where an admission charge of not more than one pound sterling would be payable. It is further proposed that the touring of the Stone be allowed to continue until such time as any purchase price and operational costs have been met. When these matters have been settled the Trust proposes that the Stone is returned to the People of Scone in the County of Perth, Scotland.

The Trust confirms that Robbie the Pict, founder of the Pictish Free State, a legal pressure group which holds land on the Isle of Skye on behalf of the People of Scotland, is authorised to speak and negotiate on behalf of the Trust ad interim. He is in possession of legal affirmations which guarantee the sum offered but has undertaken not to reveal the identity of trustees until the legitimate and competent English agent is identified. Thank you.

TELEPHONE/FAX 01 470 572 317 CONTACT ROBBIE the PICT

From Thomas Wright's History of Scotland 1874

TREATY OF YORK, EDINBURGH AND NORTHAMPTON, 1328/29

This parliament met at York on the 1st of March, 1328, and the grand point of dispute was then conceded, that Robert Bruce should be acknowledged as king of Scotland, and that Scotland itself should be recognised as a free kingdom for ever.

The instrument of renunciation was worded as follows:- "Whereas we, and others of our predecessors, kings of England, have endeavoured to obtain a right of dominion and superiority over the kingdom of Scotland, and have thereby been the cause of long and grievous wars between the two kingdoms; we, therefore, considering the numerous slaughters, sins, and bloodshed, the destruction of churches, and other evils brought upon the inhabitants of both kingdoms by such wars, and the many advantages which would accrue to the subjects of both realms, if, by the establishment of a firm and perpetual peace, they were secured against all rebellious designs, have, by the assent of the prelates, barons, and commons of our kingdom, in parliament assembled, granted, and hereby do grant, for us, and our heirs and successors, whatsoever, that the kingdom of Scotland shall remain for ever to the magnificent prince and lord Robert, by the grace of God, the illustrious king of Scots, our ally and dear friend, and to his heirs and successors, free, entire and unmolested, separated from the kingdom of England by its respective marches, as in the time of Alexander king of Scotland, of good memory, of late deceased, without any subjection, servitude, claim, or demand whatsoever.

And we hereby renounce and convey to the said king of Scotland, his heirs and successors, whatever right we, or our ancestors in times past, have laid claim to in any way over the kingdom of Scotland. And by these same presents we renounce and declare void, for ourselves and our heirs and successors, all obligations, agreements, or treaties whatsoever, touching the subjection of the kingdom of Scotland, and the inhabitants thereof, entered into between our predecessors and any of the kings thereof, or their subjects, whether clergy or laity. And if there shall anywhere be found any letters, charters, muniments, or public instruments, which shall have been framed touching the said obligations, agreements, or compacts, we declare that they shall be null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

And, in order to the fulfilment of these premises, and to the faithful observation thereof, in all time coming, we have given full power and special authority to our faithful and well-beloved cousin, Henry de Percy, and to William le Zouche of Ashby, to take oath upon our soul, for the performance of the same. In testimony whereof we have given this our letter patent, at York, on the 1st of March, in the second year of our reign, by the king himself and his council in parliament."

After a full renunciation of sovereignty like this, the object of all Bruce's efforts for so many years, the terms of a peace were soon arranged. This peace was concluded at Edinburgh on the 17th of March, 1328, and it was confirmed on the part of England in a parliament held at Northampton on the 4th of May following. It was to be cemented by a marriage between prince David of Scotland, then five years old, and the princess Joane of England, who was two years his senior.

The two kings engaged to assist each other against all enemies, always saving to the king of Scots his ancient alliance with the king of France; and each engaged not to give any aid to the rebel subjects of the other. All writings and documents relating to the attempt to establish a feudal superiority over Scotland were to be sought up and sent to the king of Scots, and the English king was to assist Bruce in obtaining at the court of Rome a recall of the sentence of excommunication.

On the part of the king of Scotland it was covenanted that certain English barons who had been deprived of their lands in Scotland should be restored; and, in further consideration of this advantageous treaty, Bruce was to pay to the English government twenty thousand pounds sterling within three years, at three separate terms. It was further stipulated, in a separate instrument, that the fatal stone of Scone, which had been carried away from Scotland by Edward I., should be sent back.

The populace of London rose tumultuously when they heard of the terms of the treaty, and proceeding in a riotous manner to Westminster, declared their intention of hindering the stone, one of the glorious trophies of the first Edward, from being carried away.

All the above from Thomas Wright's History of Scotland, Edinburgh 1874.

The Treaty of Northampton was so unpopular in England that it was simply removed from their national records, an action such as would receive the whole-hearted approval of Stalin. The Scottish Coronation Stone was not mentioned in the treaty itself, but, in a 'separate instrument', it was stipulated that 'the stone on which the Kings of Scots were wont to sit at their coronation, and which had been carried away by Edward 1' should be restored to the Scots.

PRESS RELEASE 5 APRIL, 1996 SKETIS HERITAGE TRUST, ISLE OF SKYE
FORMAL PURCHASE OFFER for the STONE OF DESTINY

By the end of the 10 day set period, noon today, no competent authority has stepped forward on behalf of the People of England to accept the sum of 250,000. It is unclear to the Trust whether that is because the amount offered is not sufficient, no-one dares to identify themselves as claiming ownership of the Stone, there is no longer a democratic forum through which the People of England can speak or that the People have simply not been made sufficiently aware of the offer.

To counter these difficulties it is the intention of the Trust to target the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Michael Mayne, with the specific question of ownership.

It is a further intention of the Trust to approach the Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, to act as a Cultural Ambassador in this matter, specifically to negotiate with the authorities in England on behalf of the People of England for the purpose of securing the sum offered in exchange for the Stone and subsequently managing or placing the resultant charitable fund.

It is a further intention of the Trust to reproduce the relevant extracts from the Treaty of Northampton of 1328.

The Trust has undertaken to actively explore the possibility of increasing the amount offered and possibly the number of trustees.

These matters are expected to take some time and given that the attention of the People of Skye will be focused on the first trial for non-payment on April 11 and the matter of raising a defence fund to counter the denial of legal aid, the Trust feels that it can make no substantial statement on this matter until Sunday the 5th of May.

The Trust would like to thank the members of the Press who did have the independence and integrity of mind to carry the story and it feels sure that there will be interesting developments by May 5th.

To: The Lady Diana, Princess of Wales
Kensington Palace
London, England

April 10th, 1996

Dear Princess Diana,

As you may be aware through media reportage, the SKETIS HERITAGE TRUST has been formed by five Skye residents who, extremely concerned at the effect on the vital Tourist Trade of toll charge of 37.50 each way for a tour bus, wish to bring the Stone of Scone back to Scotland, initially to the Isle of Skye, where it would serve as a tourist attraction and hopefully compensate to some degree for the extortionate toll regime. (The toll for a car and caravan will be 10.40 each way from May 1st).

To this end the Trust has offered the People of England, whom we trust are close to your heart, the sum of 250,000 in exchange for the return of the Stone of Destiny to Scotland, but as the first period of offer closed on April 5th no communication had been forthcoming on behalf of the People of England and the Trust wondered if perhaps there was some difficulty in establishing a negotiating agent who might handle the English end of things.

The Trust has also a deep faith in the integrity and decency of the actual People of England. The Trust believes that if the English People become properly aware that the Stone was originally stolen by King Edward 1 in 1296 and that provision was made in a treaty between the two kingdoms to return 'the stone on which the Kings of Scots were wont to sit' (Treaty of Northampton 1328/9), then they would have no difficulty with the idea of the Stone returning to Scotland.

To this end the Trust would be honoured if you would accept the role of agent and negotiator on behalf of the People of England.

The Trust realises that this may turn out to be a matter of some delicacy but what good experience for someone aspiring to a full-blooded diplomatic post. There is a huge constitutional vacuum between England and Scotland at the level of the People. Admittedly the People of England were obliged out of their sovereign role by the 18th century Bill of Rights, while the People of Scotland retain their sovereign authority, but that should not prevent communication at a level of mutual respect if not on constitutional parity. The two peoples have doubtless much in common.

In practical terms the proposed office need not be very time consuming. The Stone is in Westminster Abbey and the Very Reverend Michael Mayne, Dean of Westminster must be in possession of at least useful information on the question of alleged ownership in England. If any difficulties arose on the topic of legal ownership a telephone call or fax to the Trust contact number would bring swift legal clarification from the Scottish perspective.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie the Pict
Authorised spokesman, Sketis Heritage Trust.

To: The Very Reverend Michael Mayne
Dean of Westminster
Westminster Abbey
LONDON
England.

April 10th, 1996

OWNERSHIP OF THE STONE OF SCONE

Dear Reverend Mayne,

By way of introduction, this letter is written on behalf of a consortium of five residents of Skye who have formed themselves into the SKETIS HERITAGE TRUST, whose sole and stated aim is to facilitate the return of the Stone of Scone to Scotland and ultimately to Scone itself, from where it was stolen.

To this end the Trust made an offer of 250,000 to the People of England for the Stone but at the end of the ten day offer period, no-one had come forward on behalf of the English People to negotiate for the available sum.

Given the current location of the Stone, the Trust inevitably must now ask you 'Who do you consider to be the legal owner of the Stone of Scone at present, and is that claim of ownership under Scots or English Law?'

Given also the level of Scottish public interest in the question the Trust would be obliged if this aspect of the problem could be cleared up as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie the Pict, authorised agent,
Sketis Heritage Trust
Isle of Skye
Scotland

First lodging of the critical questions to a man who might actually try to answer honestly, unless the politicians or their operatives get to him first.

To: The Lady Diana, Princess of Wales
LONDON,
England

April 10th, 1996

Dear Princess Diana,

As you may be aware through media reportage, the SKETIS HERITAGE TRUST has been formed by five Skye residents who, extremely concerned at the effect on the vital Tourist Trade of toll charge of 37.50 each way for a tour bus, wish to bring the Stone of Scone back to Scotland, initially to the Isle of Skye, where it would serve as a tourist attraction and hopefully compensate to some degree for the extortionate toll regime. (The toll for a car and caravan will be 10.40 each way from May 1st).

To this end the Trust has offered the People of England, whom we trust are close to your heart, the sum of 250,000 in exchange for the return of the Stone of Destiny to Scotland, but as the first period of offer closed on April 5th no communication had been forthcoming on behalf of the People of England and the Trust wondered if perhaps there was some difficulty in establishing a negotiating agent who might handle the English end of things.

The Trust has also a deep faith in the integrity and decency of the actual People of England. The Trust believes that if the English People become properly aware that the Stone was originally stolen by King Edward 1 in 1296 and that provision was made in a treaty between the two kingdoms to return 'the stone on which the Kings of Scots were wont to sit' (Treaty of Northampton 1328/9), then they would have no difficulty with the idea of the Stone returning to Scotland.

To this end the Trust would be honoured if you would accept the role of agent and negotiator on behalf of the People of England.

The Trust realises that this may turn out to be a matter of some delicacy but what good experience for someone aspiring to a full-blooded diplomatic post. There is a huge constitutional vacuum between England and Scotland at the level of the People. Admittedly the People of England were obliged out of their sovereign role by the 17th century Bill of Rights, while the People of Scotland retain their sovereign authority, but that should not prevent communication at a level of mutual respect if not on constitutional parity. The two peoples have doubtless much in common.

In practical terms the proposed office need not be very time consuming. The Stone is in Westminster Abbey and the Very Reverend Michael Mayne, Dean of Westminster must be in possession of at least useful information on the question of alleged ownership in England. If any difficulties arose on the topic of legal ownership a telephone call or fax to the Trust contact number would bring swift legal clarification from the Scottish perspective.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie the Pict
Authorised spokesman, Sketis Heritage Trust.

I swear the omission of HRH was neither deliberate nor prophetic. I just thought a much put-upon lady might like to help get her mother-in-law done for resetting stolen property.

From: St James's Palace
LONDON

23rd April, 1996

Dear Mr Pict

The Princess of Wales has asked me to thank you for your letter of 10th April.

Her Royal Highness was interested to read your letter but regrets she is unable to become personally involved and I am sorry to send you this disappointing reply. Nevertheless, The Princess of Wales has asked me to send you her very best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Maureen A. Stevens

The very best wishes are much appreciated. Looks like I might need some the way this lot are behaving.

PRESS RELEASE 5th MAY, 1996 SKETIS HERITAGE TRUST, ISLE OF SKYE
INCREASED PURCHASE OFFER for the STONE OF DESTINY

There having apparently been no-one prepared to negotiate on behalf of the People of England in order to secure the sum of 250,000 in exchange for the Stone of Destiny, this Trust approached H.R.H. The Princess of Wales with an invitation to mediate, but recently received a courteous declination although transmitting her 'very best wishes'.

There having been no response from the abbey at Westminster, where a significant edition of the Stone is believed to be held on display, a letter was sent to the Very Reverend Michael Mayne, Dean of the abbey, asking 'Who do you consider to be the legal owner of the Stone of Scone at present, and is that claim of ownership under Scots or English Law?'. To date there has been no reply but in fairness the Trust is aware of an affirmation to a distinguished member of the Press corps that the Dean has been very busy and a reply will be forthcoming.

There having been no respect accorded by the Crown-Miller Consortium to the request by the Highland Council not to proceed with the tourist season increments, and the return toll for a coach visiting Skye having been increased from 51 to 75 on the 1st of May, the worst fears of this Trust regarding tourist dissuasion are being realised.

In consideration of these matters, the Trust feels obliged to make the following announcement;

WE HEREBY OFFER THE SUM OF HALF A MILLION POUNDS STERLING TO THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND, TO DO WITH AS THEY CHOOSE, FOR THE RETURN OF THE SCOTTISH CORONATION STONE OF SCONE, KNOWN AS THE STONE OF DESTINY AND CURRENTLY LOCATED UNDER THE MONARCH OF ENGLAND'S THRONE IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY, LONDON, ENGLAND.

THIS OFFER WILL BE IN EFFECT FOR A PERIOD OF TEN DAYS ONLY, FROM NOON ON THE 7TH DAY OF MAY 1996 UNTIL NOON ON THE 17TH DAY OF MAY 1996.

The Trust re-iterates its proposal to tour the Stone around Scotland with a viewing charge of not more than 1 sterling until such time as any purchase price and operational costs have been met, and then to return the Stone to the People of Scone in the County of Perth.

The Trust confirms that Robbie the Pict, founder of the Pictish Free State, the legal pressure group which holds land on the Isle of Skye on behalf of the People of Scotland, is authorised to speak and negotiate on behalf of the Trust ad interim. He is in possession of legal affirmations which guarantee the new sum offered but, as was previously stated, has undertaken not to reveal the identity of the trustees until a legitimate and competent English agent is identified.

The Trust gives notice of its intention to approach Glenn Hoddle Esq., coach-elect of the English football team, to act as intermediary on behalf of the People of England.

The Trust notes that the Isle of Skye PFI (Protesters' Funding Initiative) has set a first target of 100,000 and reserves the right to make contributions.

From: SKETIS HERITAGE TRUST, Isle of Skye

May 6th, 1996

Dear Mr Hoddle,

By way of introduction, the SKETIS HERITAGE TRUST has been formed by five Skye residents who, extremely concerned at the effect on the vital Tourist Trade of toll charge of 37.50 each way for a tour bus, wish to bring the Stone of Scone back to Scotland, initially to the Isle of Skye, where it would serve as a tourist attraction and hopefully compensate to some degree for the extortionate toll regime. (The toll for a car and caravan is 10.40 each way).

To this end the Trust had offered the People of England, with whom you now have a direct relationship, the sum of 250,000 in exchange for the return of the Stone of Destiny to Scotland, but as the first period of offer closed on April 5th no communication had been forthcoming on behalf of the People of England and the Trust wondered if perhaps there was some difficulty in establishing a negotiating agent who might handle the English end of things.

The Trust would wish to re-iterate its deep faith in the integrity and decency of the actual People of England. The Trust believes that if the English People become properly aware that the Stone was originally stolen by King Edward 1 in 1296 and that provision was made in the Treaty of Northampton 1329/9 to return 'the stone on which the Kings of Scots were wont to sit', then they would have no difficulty with the idea of the Stone being returned to Scotland. The difficulty the Trust is experiencing, however, is in finding a prominent figure absolutely identified with, and who enjoys the trust and respect of, the People of England.

To this end the Trust would be honoured if you would accept the role of agent and negotiator on behalf of the People of England.

In practical terms the proposed office need not be very time consuming. The Stone is in Westminster Abbey and the Very Reverend Michael Mayne, Dean of Westminster must be in possession of at least useful information on the question of alleged ownership in England. If any difficulties arose on the topic of legal ownership a telephone call or fax to the Trust contact number would bring swift legal clarification from the Scottish perspective.

You should be aware that the sum offered for the return of the Stone has been increased to half a million pounds sterling, and that the offer is open until noon on May 17th, 1996.

Many thanks for your time and considerations and for keeping John Spencer sharp in case we need him for June 15th.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie the Pict

To: The Very Reverend Michael Mayne
Dean of Westminster
Westminster Abbey
LONDON
England.

12th May, 1996

Dear Reverend Mayne,

May I convey my best wishes.

I wrote to you on behalf of this Trust on the 10th of April, just over one month ago, concerning the question of who might be held to legally own the Stone of Scone, but as yet have received no reply.

We do understand that contemporary matters can give the illusion of being more pressing but must convey to you that in the opinion of this Trust the present in Scotland cannot be satisfactorily resolved into the future until the past has released its karmic tethers.

The Trust would also wish to advise you that it has increased the offer-price for the Stone to 500,000 sterling and that this offer is valid until noon this Friday, the 17th of May. Perhaps some of the unfortunates who were kept homeless by the practices of Westminster Council might appreciate a share of half a million pounds rather than being unwitting holders of three hundred-weights of the County of Perth's calcerous freestone which is of no significance in their lives.

Justicia de moribus.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie the Pict

From: The Dean of Westminster
The Very Reverend Michael Mayne
Westminster Abbey
LONDON

14 May 1996

Dear Robbie the Pict,

Thank you for your further letter of 12 May. I am puzzled that you say you have received no reply as I wrote immediately and I enclose a copy of my letter dated 24 April. As the Abbey does not own the Stone of Scone, but simply holds it in trust for the nation, your offer of half-a-million pounds for it is irrelevant.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Mayne

His Very Reverendship does indeed enclose a copy of the missing letter.

From: The Dean of Westminster

24 April 1996

Thank you for your letter about the Stone of Scone. It only reached me yesterday as I have been away from London for ten days.

The answer to your question is that as the Stone of Scone is owned by the Crown, I would have thought the Crown's claim to ownership is under English law, but that you would have to ask them direct. I guess the best approach might be via the Home Office. The Stone is certainly not owned by the Abbey, any more than the Coronation Chair or any of the other Royal artefacts. We simply provide a home for them.

I am interested to see, in Nigel Tranter's foreword to Ian Hamilton's A Touch of Treason, that he writes:

'As for the Stone of Destiny, Ian admits that the stone may indeed not be the real one and although he went to so much trouble to abstract it from Westminster Abbey in 1950, I however, have no doubts that this one is a 700-year old fake, with which Edward I, Hammer of the Scots, was palmed off in 1296, the true Lia Faill being described by the ancient chroniclers as very different - perhaps ornately carved, of chair-height - indeed Scotland's Marble Chair.'

(A paragraph is blanked out at this point. Perhaps he had wished me good luck in my quest and then felt embarrassed about it since in the interim the Press had been on to him about the increased offer).

Yours sincerely

Michael Mayne

From: CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB
Stamford Bridge
London SW6 1HS

16 May 1996.

Dear Robbie the Pict

Thank you for your recent letter addressed to Glenn Hoddle.

As I am sure you will appreciate, we have been inundated with requests and letters for Glenn. Even though is contract does not expire until the end of this month, we do not anticipate him coming into the office during the next few weeks. Therefore we can only suggest that you try and contact him via the Football Association.

I am sorry we are unable to be of more assistance to you.

Yours sincerely,

PP. Jane Wilkins
Football Administration

Can't say I was holding my breath for Glenn baby.

To; Michael Howard M.P., Home Secretary
Home Office, Lunar House
CROYDON
England

21 May 1996

Dear Sir,

I write at the suggestion of the Very Reverend Michael Mayne, Dean of Westminster, to whom I had made enquiries regarding the ownership of the Stone of Scone, also known as the Stone of Destiny.

As you can see from the copies (enclosed) of his replies, he believes that the Crown owns the Stone and the Abbey holds it in trust for the nation.

Since the Scottish Crown was suspended as a constitutional dynamic on 1 May, 1707, must we take 'The Crown' to mean the English Crown and should we accept that this view is reinforced by the comment of the Dean that he would have thought that the Crown's claim to ownership would be under English Law.

You will understand that since Scotland preserves a distinct legal system, the question of just which Crown is claiming ownership is significant, and while there is no distinction in design between the English crown and the crown of the United Kingdom, if such a crown exists, it is important to establish whether or not we are dealing with the English Crown under English Law when it comes to the question of a Crown owning anything.

It would also be helpful if you agree that the Stone is held by the Abbey on behalf of the nation, if you would clarify which nation you understood that to be.

If perchance you do not recognise England or Scotland as nations and adhere to the concept of the united kingdoms being a nation, might you consider the Stone of Scone touring its country of origin so that the Scots are not obliged to spend huge sums on travel and accommodation, plus an admission charge of 4 to see what a significant number of them believe to be their Coronation Stone.

Many thanks for your time and consideration.

Yours faithfully,

Robbie the Pict

Apparently the Home Office still thinks that not replying is a legitimate option.

To: Michael Howard M.P., Home Secretary
Home Office
Lunar House
CROYDON
England

11th June, 1996

Dear Sir,

I wrote to you on 21st May asking for clarification of your perspective on whether you agree with the Very Reverend Michael Mayne, Dean of Westminster, when he opines that the Stone of Scone is owned by the Crown under English Law. I asked if you were able to clarify whether the Crown in question was the English Crown, if it was pretending to own something under English Law. I asked for which nation you thought the Stone was being held in trust. Finally I asked if you would consider releasing the Stone of Scone so that it might at least tour throughout the Kingdom of Scotland and be more reasonably accessible to the people who have a recognisable historical connection with it.

Having received no reply to those four questions to date, and after more than two years of patient enquiry being unable to identify any persona south of the border with a legally competent claim to ownership, and aware that the Crown of England and the Nation of England were annulled on 1st May, 1707, I must assert that any claim to ownership of the Stone of Scone by either the Crown of England or the Nation of England is a constitutional absurdity.

I must further assert that any pretended claim by the notionally united kingdoms is equally absurd since that concept did not manifest in its first form, Great Britain, until 411 years after the Stone was forcibly and illegally removed from Scotland. The present constitutional arrangement, the United Kingdom (inexplicably in the singular) enjoys an even less than absurd claim, it not having come into being until 504 years after the theft of the Stone from Scone.

In these circumstances the sovereign People of the Kingdom of Scotland are perfectly within their legal and constitutional rights to demand the immediate return of their Coronation Stone.

IF THIS IS NOT DONE AND THE TREATY OF NORTHAMPTON 1328/9 IS THUS NOT HONOURED BY NOON THIS FRIDAY, THE 14TH OF JUNE 1996, A STANDING REWARD OF 250,000 STERLING WILL COME INTO EFFECT AND WILL BE PAYABLE TO ANYONE WHO RETURNS THE SCOTTISH CORONATION STONE OF SCONE SAFELY TO THE ISLE OF SKYE.

I trust that your government will see the political folly of inviting accusations of both dishonour and criminality.

May I take this opportunity of wishing your country the best of luck in Euro '96.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie the Pict

From: HOME OFFICE
Constitutional and Community Policy Directorate
Constitutional Unit
Queen Anne's Gate
LONDON

12 June 1996

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter of 21 May to the Home Secretary about the ownership of the Stone of Destiny.

This has been passed to the Scottish Home and Health Department for reply.

Yours faithfully,

Ms S H CLARKE

To: The Home Office Constitutional and Community Policy Directorate
Queen Anne's Gate
LONDON
SW1H 9AT

1 July 1996

Dear Ms Clarke,

I must apologise for not being able to address you by your proper title but it has been omitted from your communication, for which I thank you.

There has been as yet no response from the Scottish Home and Health Department and I fail to understand in what way they might be able to shed light on the problem. That was certainly their position when they were asked about the same matter over 2 years ago. In fact the inability of the entire Crown presence in Scotland to produce any meaningful answer was what led to enquiries being made south of the border, in particular to the Queen of England and the Dean of Westminster who in turn referred me to you.

The questions which specifically concern English Constitutional Law, and are therefore unlikely to be answered by civil servants in Scotland without training in this field, are as follows;

1. Do you consider that English Law was annulled as such on 1 May 1707 in favour of the Law of Great Britain?

2. Acceptance of the suggestion that the 'Crown' owns the Stone of Scone obviously gives the said Crown the force of legal personality in that it has deed and title to something. Is the 'Crown' in question the English Crown?

3. If the Crown in question is not the English Crown, but the Scottish Crown, the British Crown or the United Kingdom Crown, the only three relevant possibilities, can you explain the constitutional and legal distinction between any of the three and the English Crown?

4. If the Crown in question is indeed the English Crown, and in your estimation owns the Stone of Scone, is that claim to ownership under the tenets of English Law or United Kingdom Law, they being the only two relevant possibilities?

5. If you agree that the Stone is being 'held by the Abbey on behalf of the nation' are you able to identify the name of the nation?

6. If the Home Office position is not to recognise either England or Scotland as nations but to see the united kingdoms as one nation, what is the capital city of that nation?

7. If the answer to question 6 is given as 'London', is Edinburgh not a nation's capital?

8. Finally, if it is the Home Office position that the united kingdoms are to be held to be one nation, designated as 'the United Kingdom', I must repeat my appeal on behalf of those without the will or the financial wherewithall to travel to Southern England. Might the Home Secretary authorise the circulation around Scotland of what a significant number of Scots deem to be their ancient Coronation Stone?

These eight questions are directly and legally relevant to only your office and it is clearly an evasion of responsibility to attempt to divert them elsewhere, especially to places they have essentially been wrongly directed more than two years ago.

I look forward to receiving your clear and comprehensive replies as soon as possible, as per the terms of the various Citizens Charters relevant in England.

Many thanks for your time and considerations.

The Scottish Office
Home Department
St Andrew's House
Edinburgh

5 July 1996

Dear Sir

Thank you for your letter of 21 May to the Home Secretary which has been passed to The Scottish Office for reply.

The Stone is owned by the Crown, being monarch and Government for the time being of Great Britain. As far as any queries in relation to Crown property are concerned, the courts (sic) in Scotland would apply Scottish law (sic) and the courts in England and Wales would apply English law.

As you have probably heard Her Majesty has now decided that the Stone should be returned to Scotland and consultations are to be held on the appropriate location for it.

Yours faithfully

Huw Williams.

Gordon Stephen Esq.
Personal Banking Manager
Bank of Scotland
High Street
DINGWALL
County of Ross
IV15 9HL

5 March, 1996

Dear Mr Stephen,

STONE OF DESTINY - CONFIDENTIAL PROPOSAL

By way of historical background, summer this year marks the 7th centenary of the theft of the Scottish Coronation Stone from the Abbey at Scone. The return of the stone was assured by the Treaty of Northampton in 1328 but the treaty was not honoured. You should be aware that Edward's men might have been palmed off with the Abbey's cess tank lid but, as cess tank lids go, it has nonetheless become a bit special.

Over a period of 26 months, I have politely corresponded with any party who might have had a significant role to play in the return of the stone. From the local police at Scone to the Queen herself, all have served to thwart any attempt to return the stolen property and I now believe that I have to change tactics.

To this end, I would like to be in a position to offer the People of England a sum of between 1-19-7d and 250,000. (The lower sum because that was what it cost to adjust the English throne to receive the stone and the larger sum because it is an attention grabbing figure, being the lowest significant fraction of the magic 'million' word). I would initially announce an offer of the larger sum but as publicity opportunities grew, as I believe they surely would, I would be taking every opportunity to emphasise that the People of Scotland should not really need to purchase property stolen from us, especially when its return is supposed to be a matter of honour under treaty.

To be able to offer such a sum, its existence would need to be subject to confirmation by a financial institution like your good selves, and, in the unlikely event that the Crown agreed to sell, the sum might have to be paid over, but maybe in instalments. To make that event even more unlikely, I would announce it as a condition of the offer that the sum was available for a period of only 10 days, initially 27 March to 5 April, 1996. (6 April reflects Scottish Independence Day, 1320). After which the money will be removed from my account and returned from whence it came. The supplier of the offered funds would presumably wish to remain strictly anonymous, a condition which I undertake to respect totally. Depending on the media and popular reaction, it might be interesting to double the sum on offer during a second period (8 May to 17 May, just prior to Dunnichen Day, 20 May) and again on a third and last offer period (29 May to 7 June) but the profile of the issue may well be sufficiently high long before then.

From the bank's perspective, I would be very surprised if the stake money was lost or if I could not organise a recovery fund, via rock music concerts etc., in the event that it had to be paid out. The bank may even consider it part of the P.R. budget and the revenue lost in interest from not having the sum available to lend for ten days, maybe only a notional loss, is less than a full page ad in the Scotsman. On the plus side, the publicity would be world wide when I announced that I have authorised the Bank of Scotland to confirm that one of my accounts contains in excess of 250,000 but I have notified the bank that this sum will be returned to its owner at close of business on 5 April unless it is committed to payment to the 'Dean and Chapter of Westminster'. (I would propose that the Dean held the sum in trust until such time as the People of England decided where to apply the offered sum). Nobody need know that the Bank of Scotland is also the anonymous lender, and from the perspective of risk, the money cannot be more safe - with the obvious exception. (I would of course forego the interest accruing in my deposit account over ten days in exchange for the Bank of Scotland foregoing its interest charges to me!)

I thank you and your colleagues for the time and consideration you might give to this proposal. If you feel that it has any prospects in principle, I would be perfectly happy to discuss any adjustments thought to be politically or commercially wiser. Please read this again before deciding to be my friend for life!

From: The Scottish Office
EDINBURGH

5 July 1996

Dear Sir

Thank you for your letter of 21 May to the Home Secretary which has been passed to The Scottish Office for reply.

The Stone is owned by the Crown, being monarch and Government for the time being of Great Britain. As far as any queries in relation to Crown property are concerned, the courts (sic) in Scotland would apply Scottish law (sic) and the courts in England and Wales would apply English law.

As you have probably heard Her Majesty has now decided that the Stone should be returned to Scotland and consultations are to be held on the appropriate location for it.

Yours faithfully

Huw Williams.

Students of the practices of Homo Sovieticus would recognise the 'change of personnel-now what's your problem?' technique but this looks more like the arrival of an innocent abroad. Not up to speed on the topic but at least he still thinks in terms of there being Welsh Law. The poor soul is more of a romantic than I am! Unfortunately for him his has come onto the pitch for the penalty shoot-out so I had better remind him just on whose behalf he is answering questions.

To: The Scottish Office

9th July, 1996

Dear Mr Williams,

I must apologise for not being able to address you by your proper title but it has been omitted from your communication of 5th July, for which I thank you.

I have been advised by a Ms Clarke of the Home Office Constitutional Unit that you have asked that she sends my letter of 1st July, directed to the Constitutional Unit in London, to yourself. Since you are apparently volunteering to reply on behalf of the Home Secretary please consider all eight questions as requiring a reply, although it is appreciated that you may have to consult with the Home Secretary before you consent to the possibility of the Stone initially touring Scotland.

Your immediate reply of 5th July itself raises some new questions.

You state that the Stone is owned by 'the Crown' and my enquiries regarding that personality in law are covered by questions 2, 3 and 4, however you describe that entity in two forms, Monarch and Government of Great Britain.

I am obliged to draw your attention to the fact that there has been no such constitutional entity as Great Britain since the imposition of the Ireland Act of 1800 which changed the name of the constitutional arrangement to the United Kingdom, inexplicably in single form. The treaties of Rome, Helsinki and Maastricht for example are signed 'The United Kingdom'. Do you accept this?

I must also draw to your attention the fact that there was a civil war in England in the 17th century which resulted ultimately in the 1689 Bill of Rights, a constitutional re-arrangement which left the Monarch of England only what they called a 'constitutional monarch', devoid of all executive power and left with only a symbolic courtesy in the form of a technical right to veto. Under this arrangement executive power passed to the parliament at Westminster, giving birth to the English principle of 'parliamentary supremacy'. This constitutional revolution did not happen in Scotland where the principle of 'popular sovereignty' prevails. Generally speaking, the distinction is neither understood or respected in England and Wales but when it comes to conveying property it becomes important to be aware of the discrete nature of the systems. Is the Home Office aware of the difference?

One of the truths of the notional 'treaty' of union, a concept based on only the Acts of Union of 1706 and 1707, is that there was no provision for protecting the survival of the cannon of English law beyond 1st May, 1707. Provision was made for the continuance of only the Scottish cannon of law. In constitutional terms English Law died with the Kingdom of England in 1707.

You would seem however to have faith in something which you call English law but is perhaps United Kingdom law as it applies south of the border. The weakness with this position would seem to be that United Kingdom law only came into being with the annexation of Ireland and thus is 504 years too late to have any relevance to this question. Can you advise me of the creation of a document purporting to affirm ownership of the Stone by the Crown in Parliament since 1800?

You state that 'Her Majesty has now decided that the Stone should be returned to Scotland'. I am not at all aware that the United Kingdom's queen has decided anything regarding the Stone. As I have explained above she is but a 'constitutional monarch' and subject to 'advice from her ministers', a description she herself employs. I was also not aware that the intended meaning of the announcement by Mr Major was that the Stone should be returned to Scotland. Since it was stolen from Scotland that would indeed be proper, and as soon as possible, but I understood Mr Major to claim that the Stone remained the property of 'the Crown' and was only on loan to Scotland. Since you are writing on behalf of the Home Secretary, Mr Michael Howard QC, the minister directly responsible for administering the return in whatever form, can the people of Scotland now take it from you that their Coronation Stone is actually being returned to its owners on a permanent basis?

This takes me to my final question arising from your letter. Under the tenets of Scots Law it is prudent practice in a deed of conveyance, whether gifting or loaning, to identify the object, the donor and the recipient. The object we know is the Scottish coronation palladium known as the Stone of Scone, the recipient is the Sovereign People of Scotland whose property it obviously is and then we have a small difficulty in that it is not at all clear who the donor might be. Writing on behalf of the Home Secretary, you state that the donor is the United Kingdom's queen but as a 'constitutional monarch' she neither stoops to own or give. The legal identity of the donor must be properly established before the recipient could consider taking any form of possession of the item offered. The recipient would have to be sure that the person demonstrating sufficient proprietorial attitude to offer in law had the proper authority to so do, either in his/her own capacity or in that of lawful and competent agent. So who is held to own the Stone at present and by what law?

In summation I have been obliged to ask an additional five questions, making a total of thirteen. You will appreciate that this being an affair of state it should be conducted properly by both sides and perhaps we can avoid planting another 700 years worth of bitter resentment.

Yours sincerely

Robbie the Pict

From: The Scottish Office
Home Department

15 July 1996

Dear Robbie the Pict

Thank you for your letter of 9 July. I am looking into the points you have raised and will reply in due course.

Yours sincerely

Huw Williams.

We wait with boyish anticipation.

(The wait ended on 15 November 1996, four months after receiving the above letter, when the Stone of Destiny was delivered to Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, at the behest of the monarch, Queen Elizabeth, and the Prime Minister, John Major).


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