John F Kennedy remembered at Runnymede memorial

(Left to right) Professor Tony Badger of the Kennedy Memorial Trust, US Ambassador Matthew Barzun, Kennedy's granddaughter Tatiana Schlossberg and Lord Hill, leader of the House of Lords at ceremony Professor Tony Badger of the Kennedy Memorial Trust, Mr Barzun, Ms Schlossberg and Lord Hill, leader of the House of Lords, attended the ceremony
Kennedy Memorial Trust stone with wreaths The Kennedy Memorial stone is inscribed with words from President Kennedy's inaugural address in 1961
John Kennedy Jr, Jackie Kennedy and family at the memorial unveiling in Runnymede The memorial was unveiled by the Queen and Jackie Kennedy on 14 May 1965

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The granddaughter of John F Kennedy has laid a wreath at a memorial dedicated to the former US President, on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

Tatiana Schlossberg, 23, made the tribute at the Kennedy Memorial in Runnymede, Surrey.

She said the anniversary came as a difficult reminder of a moment of profound sadness.

And she said it was an honour to have a memorial on the site where the Magna Carta was sealed in 1215.

"We have come here today to honour his memory as this monument does so well," she said.

"But today is a difficult today because it is a reminder of a moment of profound sadness for my family, for America and for the world."

'Proud and humble'

Analysis

Shrouded behind trees on a hillside in Runnymede, the Kennedy Memorial has been part of the landscape for the past 48 years.

Usually a quiet and unoccupied space, this morning 100 invited guests thronged around the seven-tonne block of Portland stone which makes up the centrepiece of this memorial, accompanied by the crisp but comforting tones of the Windsor-based Band of the Blues and Royals.

In an address, the new US ambassador to the UK Matthew Barzun described how at Runnymede the bond between the two countries is in literally set in stone.

As the band played both the American and British national anthems, wreaths were laid at the foot of the memorial which stands in an acre of land bequeathed by the Crown in 1965 when the memorial was erected - technically the only American soil in the UK.

Ms Schlossberg said: "It is an incredible honour to have a memorial here at Runnymede, the sacred ground of democratic and constitutional government.

"As a lover of history, particularly British history, I know my grandfather would be both proud and humble to see that his work on behalf of peace and liberty for all people is remembered in the very place where the rule of law was made manifest nearly 800 years ago."

Also present at the ceremony, 50 years to the day since the assassination of the 35th president of the USA, was US ambassador to the UK Matthew Barzun.

He said the memorial represented the two nations' special relationship.

Mr Barzun, who also laid a wreath, said: "It's a very powerful and important day that we are here.

"This place that we're gathered, this incredible memorial behind you and also the acre of land that you are standing on, was given by the British people to America so I'm talking to you on American soil.

"It's a strange and wonderful thing to say.

"I'm just deeply moved by the fact that the British people didn't do this because they were told to, or because they had to, they did it in the spirit of spontaneous generosity and that's a very powerful thing; something that we need more of in both our countries."

President John F. Kennedy makes a national television speech in October, 1962 John F Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald on 22 November 1963

Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas, on 22 November 1963.

As a result of demands from the British people for a UK site dedicated to him, the Runnymede memorial was unveiled by the Queen and Jackie Kennedy in 1965.

The memorial site, which is maintained by the National Trust, features a stone inscribed with words from the president's inaugural address in 1961, a 50-step pathway, a hawthorn tree and an American scarlet oak.

The location at Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was sealed, marks Kennedy's dedication to civil rights campaigns.

Professor Tony Badger, chairman of the Kennedy Memorial Trust, which administers the memorial, said the ceremony was "simply a mark of respect from the trustees and members of the British political groups to that lasting legacy that the president brought".

Ms Schlossberg is one of JFK's daughter Caroline Kennedy's three children.

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