The Scottish crown jewels
The castle is quite large so allow at least a few hours for a visit. A few of the most important buildings, including the Royal Palace, are found around Crown Square. The Royal Palace was once the home of Queen Maria Stuart, also known as Mary, Queen of Scots. It was in the small birthing room that she delivered her son, King James VI, in 1566. The Honours of Scotland Exhibition is also housed inside the walls of the Royal Palace. Here you can admire the impressive Scottish crown jewels, such as the crown from 1540 and the Sword of State that King James IV received as a gift from Pope Julius II in 1507. Another special feature is the Stone of Destiny; for many centuries the Scottish kings were crowned on this stone. In 1950, 4 Scottish students stole the stone from Westminster Abbey in London, where it had been kept since 1296. Three months later, the stone or at least a very similar-looking stone, reappeared. It was transferred to Edinburgh in 1996. The resemblance is striking, but some still doubt whether this is the real Stone of Destiny.