EXCLUSIVE: Her Majesty The Queen could be set to head a flotilla on the River Thames in June 2015 as part of celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, Royal Central has learnt.
The flotilla, which would be reminiscent in parts to that of the Diamond Jubilee river pageant in 2012, would float down the Thames, eventually arriving at Runnymede where the charter was sealed. With events to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta beginning formally in easter next year, The Queen – who is patron of the Magna Carta trust – will also be playing a part in other events to mark the anniversary.
Magna Carta is one of the main founding documents of the United Kingdom and sets out the rights and freedoms enjoyed by those living in the country. Signed by King John under pressure from the Barons in 1215, some of its clauses remain in force today such as the recognition of the special status of the City of London and the requirement to fair legal process.
Its effect is not only felt in the UK, but also in many of what are now the Commonwealth realms and even in the United States where the founding fathers used many of the principles of Magna Carta to establish the United States constitution. Celebrations will be international, including with the United States.
An idea for a flotilla to mark the anniversary was first brought up in mid-2013 when ideas to commemorate the charter were being discussed. It first appeared in a list of proposals from Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council in mid-2013 and the idea is currently being worked on by the Borough Council as part of ongoing plans to celebrate the anniversary of Magna Carta.
Among other plans to celebrate include proposing that 15th June 2015 be a public holiday in the UK and to establish a UK/US honour guard at Runnymede and the placing of flags there. The Magna Carta trust also want to encourage Magna Carta to be taught on the national curriculum. It also hopes to have an opera composed for the occasion.
The 750th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta was celebrated in 1965 with a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, which The Queen attended.
It’s not known at this stage what role other members of the Royal Family will play in the celebrations or the flotilla on the Thames.