As part of the Magna Carta’s 800-year anniversary, Cunard is to display a facsimile of the ancient document and hold talks on its importance in shaping British law.
The document will be on board Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria between May and September.
The Magna Carta was an agreement made in 1215 between King John and the nobility, which stopped the king abusing his power. It has since formed the cornerstone of British and American law, having been taken to the US by early settlers.
Robert Key, chairman of the Salisbury Cathedral 2015 Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Board, and a Member of the National Magna Carta 800th Committee will escort the copy of Salisbury’s Magna Carta during crossings on Queen Mary 2 on May 10-17, 2015 and September 4-11, 2015, and on Queen Victoria on May 22-28, 2015.
Key will hold two talks on each voyage about the Magna Carta, and on the effect the document had in shaping the modern world.
“I, and Salisbury Cathedral, are delighted to be working with Cunard as we celebrate the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary by loaning a very rare facsimile of the document,” Key explained.
“The impact of the Magna Carta was not only felt ashore, but in these lectures we have a golden opportunity to explain and explore those fundamental freedoms that give Cunard ships the right to sail the seven seas – rights that we won 800 years ago and for which people the world over are still prepared to fight and to die.”
Angus Struthers, Cunard’s marketing director added: “We are really pleased to welcome the Magna Carta, a document of such historical significance, to both our flagship liner, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria during our 175th anniversary year. I know with Robert’s expertise, our guests will be given exceptional insight into how the Magna Carta has enabled us to enjoy the freedoms we still cherish to this day.”
Cunard and the Magna Carta share an interesting history. During the Second World War the Lincoln Magna Carta, one of the four originals, was moved to the US for safe-keeping. In January 1946 it began its journey home, first to New York and then on board Queen Elizabeth for the voyage to Southampton. The ship’s Captain, Commodore Sir James Bisset, kept the box containing the document in the safest place he could think of for the crossing – under his bed.