Magna Carta Philatelic – Issued June 2015



Reason and inspiration

This year marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the foundation stone of the Rule of Law whose influence has extended around the world. To commemorate this milestone Royal Mail has worked closely with the Magna Carta 800th Committee to produce six Special Stamps depicting the Magna Carta itself as well as major international bills and declarations inspired by it that have been issued to protect civil liberties and rights.

Meaning ‘The Great Charter’, it was reluctantly granted by the tyrannical King John of England in Runnymede on 15th June 1215 as a practical solution to the political crisis he faced. Written in Latin on a single parchment and comprising a total of 63 clauses, Magna Carta established for the first time that the king was subject to the law rather than above it. It was effectively a peace treaty between the king and a group of barons.

Once King John was forced to acknowledge a schedule of rights and of limitations on royal action, consideration was given to ways of ensuring he abided by the charter’s ruling. To this end, clause 61 known as the security clause (forma securitatis) was included which allowed the selection by the barons of twenty-five barons of the realm to “observe, maintain and cause to be observed the peace and liberties which we have granted”.

Although nearly a third of the text was dropped or substantially rewritten within ten years and almost all the clauses have been repealed in modern times, the Magna Carta remains a cornerstone of the British Constitution and its principles are echoed in the US constitution and others around the world. The many divergent uses that have been made of it since the Middle Ages have shaped its meaning in the modern era, and it has become a potent, international rallying cry against the arbitrary use of power. Indeed, in any debate on the issue of liberty the Magna Carta is regularly cited.

Clauses 39 and 40 remain to this day on the statutory books, establishing that no man will be imprisoned or have his land taken away unless by the law of the land and judged by his peers. But there were other clauses incorporated in the Magna Carta at the insistence of certain barons to protect their own interests including clause 60 which restricts the right to fish in the Thames and a reference to silting in the Medway; it also refers to the removal of alien Knights and foreigners.


Stamp details

Magna Carta – First Class

Sealed at Runnymede on 15th June 1215 most of the clauses in the Magna Carta were drawn up to address specific grievances concerning the rule of King John.


Simon De Montfort’s Parliament – First Class

Set up in January 1265 this was the first Parliament to which the burgesses who were the representatives of the towns were summoned. De Montfort was a French political adventurer who came to England in 1253 and was the leader of the baronial opposition to King Henry III.


Bill of Rights – £1.33

The Bill of Rights was passed in 1689 and made parliament a branch of government superior to the monarch. Several articles from it remain relevant today particularly those relating to ‘freedom of election’ and ‘freedom of speech’.


American Bill of Rights £1.33

This is a collective name afforded to the first ten amendments to the American constitution. They guaranteed freedom of religion and speech, the liberty of the press, the right to petition and bear arms, and immunity against arbitrary search and arrest as well as excessive punishment.


Universal Declaration of Human Rights – £1.52

This was adopted by the United Nations in 1948 in response to the horrors of war and constitutes the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are entitled. The first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, which was charged with drafting the Declaration, was Eleanor Roosevelt.


Charter of the Commonwealth – £1.52

Adopted in December 2012 and officially signed by Her Majesty the Queen in March the following Year, the Charter of the Commonwealth comprises 16 care beliefs and brings together the values and aspirations that united the Commonwealth, namely democracy, human rights and the rule of law.



Operations Graduates

Operations is at the heart of our business ­– keeping mail moving to every corner of the UK and beyond. But behind our team of drivers, sorters and postal delivery workers, there’s a group of decision-makers and motivators who lead our teams, maintain our 41,000-strong fleet of vehicles and ensure we have the technology we need to deliver for our customers. That’s where you could come in.


Technology Graduates

Delivering innovative Technology solutions that can drive real improvements in our service has never been more important. And if we want be a Technology leader, we need to make significant investments – not only in our software and systems, but in our people. That’s where you come in. Join our Technology Programme and we’ll give you the skills and experience you’ll need to become a future Technology leader. You’ll learn to design, test and manage all kinds of new software, manage client relationships and have a real impact on our technology infrastructure. From an early stage, you’ll be helping to achieve real business objectives and gaining senior-level contacts. All in all it’ll be a very firm foundation for your future career.


HR Graduates

The scale and scope of our FTSE 100 organisation translates into diverse HR challenges. It might mean developing our relationship with the unions or making sure that we have the right senior level capability to lead the business into the future. You’ll be involved in key projects from the start, helping us to drive forward positive change, staff engagement and world-class service. Whether you want to pursue a career as a specialist or a generalist, our HR programme will give you a firm foundation.


Finance Graduates

Our multi-disciplinary Finance team has a key role to play in the commercial future of Royal Mail. Over 600-strong, the team is one of the UK’s largest in-house functions. As a Finance graduate you’ll be at the core of Royal Mail’s success. Taking the lead on projects that are key to our ongoing transformation, you’ll help turn us into a more competitive business.


Hurrah for Ra

Hurrah for Ra

Hurrah for Ra 2


Art, design and history come together in this ‘Thank you’ card-making project dedicated to the Egyptian sun god, Ra. Children will learn about paper-making, the origins of writing and about Ancient Egyptian culture, expressed through the art and artefacts discovered in King Tutankhamun’s tomb.


Learning objectives: by the end of the lesson

  • All will have considered the value of saying thank you, particularly for the gifts of the natural world
  • Most will be able to locate Egypt on a map, identify the Sahara Desert and the River Nile.
  • All will be able to name the sun god, Ra, and explain his importance to the Ancient Egyptians.
  • All will have the opportunity to explore/identify artefacts excavated from King Tutankhamen’s tomb.
  • Some will be able to formulate an historical timeline of events
  • All will be able to describe the importance and the many uses if papyrus.
  • All will be able to link the plant to the invention and etymology of ‘paper’.
  • Most will be able to sequence and explain the stages in the Ancient Egyptian paper making process.
  • All will have approximated the process in their own paper-making craft activity.
  • All will have discussed the importance and multiple reasons for writing
  • All will have identified and reproduced examples of Egyptian hieroglyphics.
  • Most will be able to name key events in the history and development of writing.
  • All will have designed and produced a card using Ancient Egyptian drawing techniques.
  • Some will have explored Ancient Egyptian design motifs and techniques in greater depth.
  • Some will have made comparisons between 3D and 2D representation.
  • Some will have independently researched sun god mythology in greater detail and depth.
  • All should be given the opportunity to evaluate their own and other’s work.



Hurrah for Ra – Word document – Download | 6.6 MB

Hurrah for Ra – Powerpoint document - Download | 6.6 MB


If your computer cannot read Word or Powerpoint documents then please download the 2 PDF’s below:

Hurrah for Ra – PDF 1 - Download | 3.4 MB

Hurrah for Ra – PDF 2 - Download | 3.6 MB