A rare facsimile of the Magna Carta, one of the most important documents in English history, will be going on display on board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and sister ship Queen Victoria between May and September 2015 to celebrate its 800th anniversary year.

Salisbury Cathedral will be lending a rare facsimile of its Magna Carta (dated 1215) to Cunard and is one of only four of the original documents in existence. The facsimile will be displayed in the Grand Lobby of Queen Mary 2 from early May until September. It will also be briefly carried on-board Queen Victoria in late May.

The cruise line already has experience carrying an original Magna Carta. During World War II, 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.

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

“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. 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” said Robert Key.

(Photo credit to Cunard Line)