October 3, 2018 / 11:28 AM / 14 days ago

Meghan and Harry inspect U.S. Declaration of Independence in England

CHICHESTER, England (Reuters) - Meghan Markle may now be part of the British royal family, but the former American actress’ first visit to her new royal duchy began with a viewing of a copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence from the British crown.

Meghan married Queen Elizabeth’s grandson Harry in May this year, and on Wednesday the couple visited the so-called Sussex Declaration one of only two known handwritten parchment copies of America’s formative text, at Edes House in Chichester.

The manuscript had been stored for more than 60 years in a strong-room among miles of documents in the West Sussex Record Office, until its significance was revealed by two Harvard University researchers last year.

The declaration cast Britain as a tyranny.

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States,” it says.

Measuring 24 by 30 inches (60 by 76 cm), the Sussex Declaration is thought to date to the 1780s and most likely was written in New York or Philadelphia, and while other copies and printed versions of the Declaration exist, the only other ceremonial parchment is the Matlack Declaration, which dates from 1776 and is kept at the National Archives in Washington.

The trip will also include a visit to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton as Harry and Meghan pay their first trip to Sussex since they were made Duke and Duchess of the southern English county.

They will also visit a charity for survivors of sexual abuse before discussing mental health and emotional wellbeing with youth groups.

Slideshow (17 Images)

Reporting by Peter Nicholls, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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