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Magna Carta facsimile to be displayed on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria

Robert Key at Salisbury Cathedral with the Magna Carta facsimile
A facsimile of one of the rarest documents in English history, Magna Carta, will be going on display on board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and sister ship Queen Victoria between May and September 2015, as the ‘Great Charter’ sealed by King John in 1215 celebrates its 800th anniversary year.

As the shipping line continues to celebrate its 175th anniversary year, Salisbury Cathedral will be lending a rare facsimile of its Magna Carta, one of only four of the original 1215 documents in existence, to Cunard.

The facsimile will be displayed in the Grand Lobby of Queen Mary 2 from early May until September 2015, with a six night sojourn aboard Queen Victoria in late May.

Robert Key, chairman of the Salisbury Cathedral 2015 Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Board, and a member of the National Magna Carta 800th Committee will be escorting the copy of Salisbury’s Magna Carta during crossings aboard the two vessels.

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 in the safest place he could think of for the duration of the crossing – under his bed!

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.

Robert Key at Salisbury Cathedral with the Magna Carta facsimile