The pace is quickening with the turn of the year and the realisation that there is just over 450 days to go until the ‘BIG ONE’, 15 June 2015. The 15 June 2015 Project Board just met again, with the main agenda point the exact location on the Runnymede Meadow that we’ll be gathering early in the morning to await the arrival of Her Majesty to be met with by the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey and the Chairman of the Magna Carta Trust Lord Dyson and other dignitaries. The Queen will rededicate the Magna Carta Memorial (built and dedicated fifty years before) and a new ‘Art Commission’.
This edition of the Newsletter also carries news of the first opening of an exhibition dedicated to Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary in, of all places, Houston, Texas. Not in England where it was the peaceful solution to what was then in 1212 to 1215 in effect a civil war between the Barons and the King, ‘Bad King John’. Peaceful then, but not for long, as ‘Bad King’ reneged on his pledge, continued his bad ways (selling off widows under his guardianship to finance his failing battles for instance) so the barons had then to go to war again to press their case to the reluctant King.
In a piece in the Telegraph a year ago on the villains of British history Professor Nicholas Vincent was asked if King John deserved to be called ‘Bad’. “No”, was Nick’s response, “he was much worse than that!” I’m told that Nick’s text for the wonderfully written and illustrated book being published in many editions (ABA, IBA, Lincoln, British Library, National Society of Magna Carta Dames and Barons, etc.) and in a general edition as well, is already at the proof stage and will be ready to launch at the ABA Convention in Boston (USA) in August, launched here in October, and the British Library edition will be launched at the Library in February next year to coincide with the exhibition of the four 1215 versions, brought together for the first time.