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HM The Queen grants historic Charter

Friday, 17th February 2012

HM The Queen grants historic Charter

In an Audience at Buckingham Palace today, HM The Queen presented a historic charter to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster which sets out for the first time how Westminster Abbey should be governed on a day-to-day basis.

The Abbey was re-founded by Charter in 1560 by Elizabeth I as a Collegiate Church but she omitted to sign the various drafts of statutes, which had been proposed at the time. No subsequent monarch signed the drafts and so they had no legal authority.

Since then the Abbey has been governed by custom and by the authority of Royal Letters, issued on different occasions over the centuries. The document known as a ‘Supplemental Charter’, formally granted by the Queen on 16th February 2012 and presented today to the Dean and Chapter, brings the Statutes legally into being for the first time.

Sir Stephen Lamport, Receiver-General of Westminster Abbey, said:

This is a significant moment in the history of Westminster Abbey. After four and a half centuries we have finally been able to put the Abbey’s Statutes on to a proper basis. Over the last ten years much work has gone into the complex process of bringing together and updating the Abbey’s Statutes so that they properly represent the present governance of the Collegiate Church. That task has now been completed. It is particularly pleasing that all this has been achieved in Her Majesty’s Jubilee Year.

The Supplemental Charter is printed on vellum, measuring 45.7cm x 35.6cm and is 2.5cm thick.

Photography: John Stillwell/PA

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I feel very privileged to work here. I take so much pride in working for a beautiful place like the Abbey, it’s unique.

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