Anne Boleyn & The Secret of King Edward’s Chair

The contemporary accounts of Anne Boleyn’s coronation at Westminster Abbey on Sunday 1st June 1533 tell us that Anne sat facing the high altar upon King Edward’s chair.

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Westminster Abbey

It was an ancient tradition that every English monarch sat in the chair and it had been used at every coronation service since Edward II’s in 1308.

King Edward II’s father, King Edward I had a very particular reason for having this splendid oak chair made.

The reason being that he needed a chair that would conceal the Stone of Scone (also known as the Stone of Destiny) within the frame of the chair. In 1276 Edward I had the sandstone relic removed from Scotland and placed in the charge of the Abbot of Westminster.

Prior to Edward I’s acquisition of the stone it had been used at the crowning of all Scottish Kings and was known as Lia Fail, “the speaking stone”. The stone was moved in 804AD to the ancient capital of Scotland, Scone in Perthshire by Kenneth I, the 36th King of Dalriada.

Scottish legend stated that once sat on, the stone would choose the monarch by groaning if the prospective monarch was truly royal or staying silent if they were not.

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King James I

When James VI of Scotland, (also James I of England) was named Elizabeth I’s successor in 1603 the words supposedly engraved on the ancient stone came true.

Ni fallat fatum, Scoti, quocunque locatum

Invenient lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem

[If Fates go right, where’er this stone is found
The Scots shall monarchs of that realm be crowned]

 

 

The stone was returned to Edinburgh Castle in Scotland in 1996, but will continue to be used in the crowning of British monarchs in the future.

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