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Commemorative stamps released to mark 800th anniversary of Magna Carta

Royal Mail have released a special set of commemorative stamps to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. The six stamps that have been issued feature text from Magna Carta as well as text from other charters, bills and declarations that have developed the rule of law around the world.

Magna Carta was one of the most important documents in Medieval England and was signed on June 15th 1215 between King John and the barons of England. Given the Royal Seal at Runnymede, Windsor, Magna Carta was a series of written promises between the King and his subjects that h would govern England and deal with its people in accordance to the customs of feudal law. Magna Carta was essentially an attempt by the barons to stop King John abusing his power and it is often said that signing of the historical charter saw his rule restrained by a mere parchment.

A mere parchment it may have been but principles in Magna Carta charted the right to a fair trial as well as limits on taxation without representation. Magna Carta also inspired a number of other historically important documents including the US Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and some of its clauses still remain on Statute in England and Wales.

Chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Committee, Sir Robert Worcester, spoke of the commemorative stamps, “The relevance of Magna Carta in the 21st century is that it is the foundation of liberty. I am delighted that Royal Mail has marked this landmark document, and other key bills and declarations it inspired, with these striking stamps. It is fitting that they will be seen by people all around the world.”

The stamps not only show text from Magna Carta but also text from the 1791 American Bill of Rights, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 2013 Charter of the Commonwealth.

Director of Stamps and Collectibles at Royal Mail, Andrew Hammond, spoke of the legacy of Magna Carta, “The Charter’s unique status as a fundamental text, guaranteeing freedom under the law, has been the inspiration for many key charters, bills and declarations which have become milestones in the development of the rule of law throughout history and across the world.”

The Queen and senior members of The Royal Family will commemorate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta at Runnymede on June 15th.

Featured Photo Credit: James Joel

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