Hobbit star Ryan Gage opens Hampton Court garden celebrating Magna Carta as Human Rights Act under threat

Eight hundred years since Magna Carta, a commemorative garden will mark the historic anniversary at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, at a time when modern-day human rights protections are under threat as never before.

The “Amnesty International: Magna Carta 800 Garden”, celebrates the history of human rights, with horticultural design elements showing how the Magna Carta is the parent of human rights protections leading all the way up to the Human Rights Act of today. The garden is designed and created by award-winning garden and landscape designer Frederic Whyte.

A tree at the heart of the garden represents the Ankerwycke Yew in Runnymede under which Magna Carta was signed in 1215. The tree is surrounded by five others which represent Magna Carta’s “offspring”: The Bill of Rights (1689); The Slavery Abolition Act (1833); The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), described by Eleanor Roosevelt as the “international Magna Carta for all mankind”; The European Convention on Human Rights (1950), and The Human Rights Act (UK 1998).

A modern English version of Magna Carta has been written onto huge stone panels which surround the garden and can be read by visitors. As well as Amnesty’s trademark yellow, burgundy plants represent the wax seal of the original Magna Carta.

The garden will be open to the public from Tuesday 30 June – Sunday 5 July with a press day on Monday 29 June.

Ryan Gage said:

"For 800 years people around the world, including me, have come to value and even celebrate Magna Carta. It symbolises a belief in the rule of law and a rejection of tyrannical and arbitrary rule.

"Echoes of Magna Carta can be found in laws which underpin our society today, including the Human Rights Act, which protects the fundamental freedoms of us all.

"I feel proud to support Amnesty International and stand up for the Human Rights Act and I hope that visitors to this beautiful garden over the week will take the opportunity to reflect on the rights which are so important to us all and sign up to Amnesty’s campaign to save the Human Rights Act."

Laura Trevelyan, Amnesty UK’s Human Rights Act Campaign Manager, said:

“Eight hundred years ago, the rights of individuals to challenge the power of the state were set down for the first time.

“Eight hundred years on, our government is seeking to rip that legacy up by the roots.

"Amnesty will continue to fight to protect the Human Rights Act and we hope visitors will stand in this lovely garden and think of how precious our hard-won human rights continue to be.”

To attend the press preview day, for interviews or for further information on the garden contact the press office.

To call for the Human Rights Act to be protected, visit www.savetheact.com

For tickets to the Hampton Court Flower Show go to www.RHS.org.uk

View latest press releases