November 7, 2014
Magna Carta Exhibition Highlights shared US-UK love of liberty
The Telegraph, 6th November.
Some 75 years after the Lincoln Cathedral copy of Magna Carta was locked in the vaults of Fort Knox for safekeeping, it returns to the US Library of Congress.
Princess Anne returned to Washington DC for the first time in 20 years on Thursday to open an exhibit celebrating the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta, a document treasured by Americans as an inspiration to their own constitution.
The Princess Royal said the document, drawn up by 40 rebellious barons in 1215 to assert their individual rights, served to highlight Britain and America’s enduring love of liberty.
“We take so much for granted in terms of our freedoms and our expectations of freedoms and independence, and anniversaries such as this really are reminders of how far we have come in safeguarding our liberties,” she said at a ceremony at the Library of Congress.
“Nearly 800 years ago, Magna Carta gave us our first concept of a society governed by the rule of law — a major step.”
Lincoln Cathedral has lent one of the only four surviving copies of Magna Carta issued in 1215 for an exhibition that also includes 76 items drawn from the Library of Congress’s collection, including George Washington’s annotated copy of a draft of the US Constitution from 1787.
The exhibition “Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor” also marks another anniversary – the 75th since the Lincoln Cathedral copy of Magna Carta was sent to America in 1939 for safekeeping, in case the Nazis succeeded in invading Britain.