Magna Carta: Statue of Queen marks 800th anniversary

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The statue shows the Queen in full Garter Robes

A commemorative statue of the Queen has been unveiled beside the River Thames in Surrey as part of events marking the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

The 4m (13ft) bronze sculpture at Runnymede Pleasure Grounds shows the Queen in full Garter Robes.

The unveiling coincided with the second day of the Thames River Pageant from Hurley in Berkshire to Runnymede.

The Royal Barge Gloriana lead a flotilla of 200 boats taking a replica of Magna Carta down the river.

The statue of the Queen was created by sculptor James Butler, and inspired by the 1954 and 1969 portraits by Pietro Annigoni.

The artwork was unveiled by Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

Magna Carta was granted by King John on 15 June 1215, establishing that the king was subject to the law rather than being above it.

It paved the way towards modern rights and freedoms, and was sealed by the king at Runnymede.

Image caption,
The Queen's Diamond Jubilee barge, Gloriana, was the flagship of the pageant
Image caption,
Charter bearers carried the document on board the Royal Shallop Jubilant during the event

The Foreign Secretary and Conservative MP for Runnymede, Philip Hammond, who was also at the unveiling, told the invited guests that the Queen was the "ultimate refinement" of constitutional monarchy.

"While John represented arguably the worst of monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II represents undoubtedly the best of monarchy," he said.

The pageant started on Saturday with 23 charter bearers carrying a replica of the charter on board the Royal Shallop Jubilant.

Stopping at various points on the way, actors recounted the story of Magna Carta and then handed over the responsibility of carrying the document to a new relay bearer.

Image source, Twitter: @DontLetYourTea
Image caption,
Giant puppets at the Great Charter Festival at Royal Holloway University

The flotilla paused overnight in Windsor before commencing its journey at 09:00 BST, and arriving at Runnymede Pleasure Grounds in the afternoon.

Celebrations marking the 800th anniversary have been taking place across the country, with church bells ringing out.

In Surrey, they have included jousting at the Runnymede Pleasure Grounds, and a Great Charter Festival with giant puppets at the Royal Holloway University.

Image source, Runnymede Borough Council
Image caption,
Jousting at Runnymede Pleasure Grounds

The Houses of Parliament and the National Trust also organised a series of national events called LiberTeas, to enable people to "celebrate, debate or reflect on their liberties".

On Monday, the Queen, the Prime Minister and the Duke of Cambridge will join thousands of invited guests at an event at what is believed to be the exact spot in Runnymede where the document was sealed.

Image caption,
Magna Carta was sealed at Runnymede by King John of England on 15 June 1215

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