Magna Carta: Queen to attend 800th anniversary celebrations in Runnymede

Members of the royal family will attend the unveiling of a new artwork based on the document

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The Queen will lead celebrations of the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary, attending a ceremony on the River Thames.

Members of the Royal family will arrive in Runnymede, where King John sealed the charter in 1215. A new art installation will also be revealed in the nearby meadows, where a statue of the Queen was unveiled this weekend.

The Magna Carta – or Great Charter in English – laid down the foundations for today’s political and legal system. It also denotes that the Monarch is not above the law.

A flotilla of boats has been leading a copy of the book down the river to Runnymede over the weekend, led by the Royal Barge Gloriana which was used in the Jubilee pageant.

The Royal Barge ‘Gloriana’ passing through Old Windsor Lock on the Thames to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta

Over 3,000 people are expected to turn up for the rededication of the American Bar Association’s Magna Carta Memorial ceremony, as well as the Duke of Edinburgh, Duke of Cambridge and Princess Royal, ITV reported. There will be spoken word and musical performances.

A pageant will also be held on Monday night in Salisbury cathedral, which has one of the remaining four copies of the book.

The commissioned artwork is called The Jurors and is, the BBC reported, inspired by the 39th clauce of the document which outlines the right to a fair trial. It has been created by artist Hew Locke.

Ahead of the celebrations, researchers from the universities of East Anglia, Cambridge and King’s College London revealed that King John was so reluctant to publicize the now world-famous document that the church had to step in to ensure that sufficient copies were made and distributed.