The Queen and other British royals have gathered at Runnymede with American justice officials to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. Nathan Frandino reports.
With royal pomp and circumstance, Britain's leaders gathered on the banks of the River Thames at Runnymede to mark the anniversary of one of the world's most significant historical documents. It was here 800 years ago that King John signed the Magna Carta, putting limits on the power of the crown and paving the way for modern freedoms and human rights. British Prime Minister David Cameron. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "Its remaining copies may be faded but its principles shine as brightly as ever." Four original copies of the document still exist -- stored at the British Library in London. For American dignitaries present at the ceremony, the Magna Carta is especially significant. It became the basis for the U.S. Bill of Rights, the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. American Bar Association President William Hubbard says while some things have changed, the overarching message remains the same. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILLIAM HUBBARD, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, SAYING: "Magna Carta has advanced important human rights through centuries and throughout democracies all around the world." U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch described the Magna Carta's impact as everlasting. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LORETTA LYNCH, US ATTORNEY GENERAL SAYING: "While the hands that wrote the Magna Carta have long been stilled, the principles they carved out of their day, the struggles of the human condition, live on." ...and 800 years later, whether King John intended it or not, those principles are still viewed as a cause for celebration.