Thursday, 18 October 2018

A Starkey reminder of freedom’s origins

THIS year marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta — Latin for “the great charter”.

THIS year marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta — Latin for “the great charter”.

To celebrate, the always entertaining broadcaster and historian Dr David Starkey will be talking about the historical impact of Magna Carta and its implications for us today at the Theatre Royal, Windsor, on Sunday, June 7, at 7.30pm.

This groundbreaking document — sealed by King John on June 15, 1215, at Runnymede, a short distance from Windsor Castle — is considered one of the first steps towards modern democracy.

The Magna Carta limited for the first time the power of the monarch by stating the basic rights, privileges, and liberties of leading citizens and clergy, and is the foundation stone supporting the freedoms enjoyed today by hundreds of millions of people in more than 100 countries.

Magna Carta enshrined the rule of law in English society. It limited the power of authoritarian rule and paved the way for trial by jury, proclaimed certain religious liberties, and defined limits on taxation.

Nearly 500 years later, it was central to both the American declaration of independence and the constitution.

By any standards, Magna Carta is a political success story. But that doesn’t mean its origins were exactly plain sailing — and David Starkey tells a story of treachery and idealism, politics and peace–making that is surprising and enthralling.

He looks at the origins of the Great Charter — including how it was nearly strangled at birth — and explores its subsequent deployment, its contribution to making everyone, including the monarch, subject to the rule of law.

Theatre Royal executive director Robert Miles said: “The 800th anniversary will be an occasion of immense local, national and international importance, so it is fitting that such a distinguished historian as David Starkey will be heading to Windsor to share his thoughts and knowledge of this world–famous document.”

Dr Starkey will be taking questions from the audience during the evening, as well as signing copies of his latest book, entitled Magna Carta.

Awarded the CBE in 2007, Dr Starkey is the UK’s leading constitutional historian, known for his forthright views. He writes books, curates historical exhibitions and presents TV documentaries that combine scholarship with wide popular appeal. His highly popular historical TV series include Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, The Monarchy, The Churchills and Music and Monarchy.

A late addition to the Theatre Royal’s programme, tickets for David Starkey: Magna Carta are priced £13 to £35, with group bookings available. Call the box office on 01753 853888 or visit

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