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This morning the Lord Chancellor Ken Clarke QC and the Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger will be among the dignitaries gathered at Runnymede Meadows to kick off five years of celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.
The celebrations will start with a public commemoration of the sealing of the Magna Carta at the site where, in 1215, the barons gathered to petition King John for the first ‘great charter’.
The organisers of today’s event hope that the five-year programme of celebrations will include a commemorative coin and stamp in 2015 as well as a public holiday on June 15th 2015.
Lord Neuberger, chairman of the Magna Carta trust, said the importance of Magna Carta could never be understated.
“This ‘great charter’, issued nearly 800 years ago, continues to echo in the modern world and indeed, all over the world,” Neuberger said.
It enshrined concepts such as freedom under law, democracy and the importance of limited government, Neuberger added, and was a pre-cursor to many of the freedoms and liberties that humanity rightly expects their governments to respect today.
Neuberger said the Magna Carta had paved the way for ‘the law of the land’ and English common law and was the genesis of the English and American Bill of Rights, the American Constitution and parliamentary democracy.
“This document is the foundation stone of liberty, freedom, justice and democracy the world over, and we come together to celebrate its many great and noble achievements and to draw the world’s attention to the impending 800th anniversary of its inception,” Neuberger said.