Magna Carta originals reunited for 800th anniversary

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The four surviving original Magna Carta copies have gone on display together for the first time as Britain marks the 800th anniversary of the manuscript.

Considered the cornerstone of freedom, modern democracy, justice and the rule of law, the English document forms the basis for legal systems across the globe, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the US constitution.

In June 1215, the wayward king John agreed to the demands of rebellious barons to curb his powers and sealed the charter at Runnymede, a meadow by the River Thames west of London.

At the British Library in London, the two priceless copies held by the institution were joined by those from Lincoln and Salisbury Cathedrals for a unification event this week that few will get to witness.

A total of 1215 people - drawn from a ballot from 20-plus countries - have won the chance to see the four originals together today, while world-leading Magna Carta experts get the chance to study them side by side tomorrow.

The four parchments will be moved to parliament for a private display Thursday, before returning to their respective homes.

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