As the Magna Carta celebrate its 800th anniversary year in 2015, a facsimile of the seminal charter will go on display on board Cunard’s flagship liner, Queen Mary 2 and sister ship Queen Victoria


As Cunard continues to celebrate its 175th anniversary year, Salisbury Cathedral will be lending a rare facsimile of its Magna Carta to the cruise line.

A copy of one of only four of the original 1215 documents in existence, it will be displayed on board the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, on show in the Grand Lobby of Queen Mary 2 from early May until September 2015, with a 6 night sojourn on Queen Victoria in late May.

The Magna Carta was a series of written promises between the king and his subjects that he, the king, would govern England and deal with its people according to the customs of feudal law. The charter was an attempt by the barons to stop a king – in this case King John – abusing his power and causing suffering to the people of England.

As it happens, Cunard and the Magna Carta share some interesting history. During WW2, the Lincoln Magna Carta, one of the four originals, was moved to Washington DC 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 metal box containing the precious document under his bed for safekeeping for the duration of the crossing.

Robert Key, Chairman of the Salisbury Cathedral 2015 Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Board, will be escorting the copy of Salisbury’s Magna Carta during crossings on board Queen Mary 2 on 10-17 May 2015 and 4-11 September 2015, and Queen Victoria’s cruise on 22-28 May 2015. Robert will hold two talks on each voyage about the legacy of the Magna Carta, and the profound effect it had in shaping the world as we know it today.

Angus Struthers, Cunard’s Marketing Director, is delighted to welcome on board the Magna Carta facsimile to the two ships and said, “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.”

The Magna Carta facsimile will join Queen Mary 2 from 10 May and will stay on board until 11 September 2015. It will be transferred to Queen Victoria for a short period, 26-28 May, part of the ship’s Liverpool Salute sailing 22-28 May 2015. On 25 May 2015, all three Queens will sail together into the Liverpool, the spiritual home of Cunard, for the first time.

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