We are heading toward a big anniversary next year. it will be 800 years since King John was forced to put his seal on Magna Carta at Runnymede. As part of the build up I was asked to help at Windsor’s Guildhall on Saturday, telling people about the history of the document and its continuing social and political significance.

This was a great opportunity to refresh my own memory about the great charter and ‘bad’ King John and the Barons who opposed him.

One great aspect of the story was that Magna Carta lays down rules that stop minors being disinherited of their father’s lands and titles.

By  1216 the barons had installed Louis, the son of the French King in London as a rival claimant to England’s crown. However  when  John died suddenly they felt they could not disinherit his son Henry and so sent Louis packing back to France and Henry III went on to reign for more than 60 years and was almost as unpopular as his father had been.