HM The Queen welcomed dignitaries, including St Albans representatives, to celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta on Monday 15 June at Runnymede.
As a Magna Carta Charter Town, St Albans was represented by Cllr Salih Gaygusuz, Mayor of St Albans City and District, other Councillors and civic leaders.
St Albans was at the start of the development of Magna Carta. It hosted the first meeting between the churchmen and barons that led to the charter of rights being sealed by King John at Runnymede in 1215.
Also present at the Runnymede commemoration event were Prime Minister, David Cameron, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, and HRH The Princess Royal. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby was among the other dignitaries from the UK and around the world.
As part of the celebrations, a new art installation “The Jurors” by Hew Locke was unveiled by HRH The Duke of Cambridge on Runnymede Meadows. There were also musical and spoken word performances and a rededication of the American Bar Association's Magna Carta Memorial by HRH The Princess Royal.
Cllr Salih Gaygusuz, Mayor of St Albans City and District, said: “This event commemorated the momentous changes that began in St Albans in 1213. Magna Carta is the foundation stone that supports the freedoms enjoyed today by hundreds of millions of people around the world. It brought protection and justice to ordinary people by enshrining the Rule of Law in English society. For centuries Magna Carta has influenced constitutional thinking worldwide including in Europe, Japan, the United States, many Commonwealth countries, and throughout Latin America and Africa.”
Celebrations were also held in St Albans at the weekend to mark the City’s connection to the charter of rights. The High Sherriff of Hertfordshire, Mr Jonathan Trower, attended the ‘Medieval Lives and Liberties’ exhibition at the old Town Hall on life in St Albans. The exhibition runs until Friday 26 June so there is still time to find out more about this fascinating period of St Albans’ history. During the weekend, free re-enactments of real-life Victorian trials also took place in the building’s historic courtroom as well as a debate on prison education. Elsewhere in the City, the Crown Court opened its doors to the public, hosting mock trials, a dog display and crime talks.