Princess Anne opens Magna Carta exhibition in Washington

6th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Princess Anne opened Thursday a 10-week exhibition at the Library of Congress that features one of only four surviving original copies of the nearly 800-year-old Magna Carta.

The 64-year-old daughter of Queen Elizabeth hailed the "shared values" of Britain and the United States, at a ceremony alongside the Lincoln Cathedral copy of the historic document.

"Nearly 800 years ago, Magna Carta gave us our first concept of a society governed by the rule of law -- a major step," the princess said.

"I think anniversaries are an opportunity to look forward to what will be happening in maybe 100, 200 years," she added.

"Will we still be celebrating Magna Carta as it reaches those milestones?.

It is imperative for us to instill these values, this understanding in the next generation.

"The exhibition, which ends January 19, recounts the Magna Carta's origins in medieval England, tells how it's been interpreted over the centuries and explains its place in US constitutional law.

It also marks the 75th anniversary of the Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta's first visit to the United States, where it went on show in New York and Washington, then spent World War II in the safety of Fort Knox, Kentucky, alongside US gold reserves.

Written in Latin and sealed by King John in 1215, the Magna Carta, or "great charter," was the first document to limit the powers of an English monarch and protect his subjects' rights.

Other surviving copies are located at Salisbury Cathedral in southwest England and the British Library in London, where in February all four copies will go on view to a select group of 1,215 people chosen by public ballot.

The National Archives in Washington hold a 1297 copy of the Magna Carta, which it claims was the first to have been placed on the official legal registry in England.

It is on loan from the Washington-based financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein, who bought it for $21.

3 million at a Sotheby's auction in New York in 2007.


© 2014 AFP

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