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Priory Journalists get the Inside Scoop at this Year’s Magna Carta Lecture

On the evening of Friday 14th June, Saskia and Jacob had a very special appointment to keep: an exclusive interview with this year’s Magna Carta speaker.

Every year, a special guest gives a lecture about the Magna Carta at Lincoln Cathedral, and this year’s guest was Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, who was, until October 2012, the President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. The Priory Newsroom were delighted to receive an invitation from Lincoln Cathedral’s Education Officer, Carol Bennett, and we were even more excited when we were given an exclusive interview with Lord Phillips before he gave his lecture.

“Jacob and Saskia were nervous but thrilled to be selected for the task,” commented Miss Chester, who accompanied the students to the Cathedral. “They didn’t let their nerves show, though, and they did a superb job.”

The Priory Newsroom researched the Magna Carta and Lord Phillips before the event and mind-mapped a number of questions, which were then narrowed down to just six.

“Magna Carta was the first document that laid down, in writing, that the king basically had to abide by law just like everybody else,” explained Lord Phillips when he was asked about the text’s relevance today. “What the Magna Carta stands for influenced our Parliament in passing the Human Rights Act.”

When asked what interested him most about the Magna Carta, Lord Phillips said, “Just how significant it still is today. There are things happening in relation to modern life which would not have been anticipated even fifty years ago; I’m talking now about terrorism, the challenges of how you deal with terrorism and the importance of not overreacting so you forget about fundamental human rights.”

The lecture itself was fascinating – from how King John signed the text without intending to follow its rules to how America twisted its words during World War II so they could arrest anyone of Japanese nationality.

The Magna Carta’s purpose was to stop kings from being above the law and providing equal justice and rights across England. It was first created by King John after a riot broke out in London as the barons demanded that the king stopped pillaging the villages and farms they owned. The Magna Carta was formed to prevent this, but King John had no intention of following the rules! Now the text is the base for equal rights and has even played a major role in the American constitution.

The Dean of Lincoln Cathedral announced that next year’s lecture will be given by a historian rather than a lawyer, as we near the 500th anniversary of the Great Charter.

Jacob, Year 8