Queen marks Magna Carta anniversary

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Published: Monday 23rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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The Queen inspected a copy of the Magna Carta at a special reception at Buckingham Palace to mark its 800th anniversary.

She was shown a modern copy of the document which attempted to limit the powers of her medieval predecessor King John as she met hundreds of legal and political dignitaries.

Comprising 3,500 handwritten words in minuscule medieval Latin , it is written on sheepskin parchment, like the original, and belongs to the British Library.

Dr Claire Breay, the Library’s head of medieval manuscripts, who showed it to the Queen, said there are four remaining versions of the original manuscript still in existence.

Dr Breay added: “There were 63 clauses in the original document and most of those have now been repealed, and of the version of Magna Carta which went onto the statute books only three clauses are still valid in English law on the statute book today.

“So I was showing the Queen the clause …’no free man should be seized or imprisoned or stripped of his rights, or outlawed or exiled except by the judgement of his equals or by the law of the land and no one shall have justice delayed or denied to him’ because that is one of the clauses that is still on the statute book and is at the heart of its fame today.”

She added that the Queen had also been “intrigued” by a seal of King John that will be part of an exhibition starting at the British Library next month. The seal, on loan from Eton College, is one of the earliest and best-preserved images of the Plantagenet Kings and will be exhibited at Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy.

The Queen hosted the reception in her capacity as patron of the Magna Carta Trust, which is behind events marking eight centuries since the document was drawn up and sealed by the King.

She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, who had two small strips of medical tape on his right ear. The Palace denied to comment on the reason for this.

Among those attending was Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, Lord Neuberger, the president of the Supreme Court and Sir Robert Worcester, founder of polling firm MORI and deputy chairman of the Magna Carta Trust.

Other guests included constitutional historians, senior figures from the legal profession and law students.

Published: Monday 23rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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