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Will President Obama join The Queen at Runnymede for Magna Carta celebrations?

The White House has not ruled out the possibility that the President of the United States could be standing next to The Queen at Runnymede in June when the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta is marked.

There has already been speculation that the President will be at the commemorations. Now local news source, Get Surrey, has directly approached the White House about whether Barack Obama will attend getting the response ”At this time we have no presidential travel to announce.”


The Queen with the President and the First Lady of the United States at Buckingham Palace in 2009. Now speculation is mounting that President Obama could be at Runnymede for the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.

This refusal to rule out an appearance by President Obama has caused excitement ahead of the big celebrations that take place on June 15th. There is an American Bar Association Memorial at Runnymede and nearby is a memorial to President John F Kennedy.

President Obama made reference to the huge role Magna Carta has played in helping found the government of other nations. In his historic speech at Westminster Hall in 2011 he reminded his audience of the words of Winston Churchill ”..Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence”.

Magna Carta was sealed in 1215 by King John and at the time was a huge defeat for the monarch as he gave away his unlimited power. The charter established the principle that everybody was subject to the law and had the right to fair trial.

The Queen is the patron of the Magna Carta Trust which has been organising commemorations to mark the eight centuries since the charter was sealed. Earlier this year she viewed a replica of the famous document at Buckingham Palace as celebrations got under way.

If President Obama does attend he will be shaking hands with the Queen just days after hosting the King and Queen of the Netherlands in Washington during their three day stay in the US. In March this year he hosted the Prince of Wales at the White House having welcomed the Duke of Cambridge there in December 2014. President Obama has met the Queen several times before – in 2009, during the State Visit of 2011 and most recently at commemorations for the D-Day landings in Normandy in June 2014.

The White House is refusing to rule out another meeting between the two Heads of State on a summer’s day in Surrey. Perhaps another famous image of the Queen and President Obama may be about to make its way into the history books.

Photo credit: By White House (Pete Souza) / Maison Blanche (Pete Souza) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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