Princess Anne was in Washington DC on 6 November to open the exhibit honouring the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the foundation of America’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
The event took place in the Great Hall at The Library of Congress. It was here The Princess Royal cut the ribbon for its exhibition Magna Carta: Muse and Mentor.
The ceremony took place 75 years after Magna Carta was entrusted to the Library of Congress for safekeeping as Britain entered World War Two. It was on display at the Library until the United States entered the war. The document was then sent to Fort Knox in Kentucky for safekeeping.
In 1946, Magna Carta returned to England.
“The integrity of the rule of law has been very difficult to maintain,” remarked Princess Anne. “This remarkable exhibit is really very important and timely as we take for granted our freedom and liberty.”
Anne and all members of the British delegation wore red poppies, commemorating the more than ten million people who died in World War One.
British Ambassador to the United States, Sir Peter Westmacott, made mention that “Sir Winston Churchill, himself half American, described both Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence as ‘title deeds of liberty’.”
Only four original 1215 copies of the Magna Carta still exist. Two are in the British Library, and the third is in England’s Salisbury Cathedral.
The Lincoln copy will continue on display until 19 January 2015 when it will be returned to the Lincoln Cathedral and a new custom-made vault.
Princess Anne noted that is: “an opportunity to learn a great deal more and to celebrate the real values of the freedoms and independence that rule of law can give us all.”
To learn more about Magna Carta, one may read: History Rewind: Magna Carta is sealed on Royal Central.
Photo Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images