Queen threatened with Libyan lawsuit for ‘stolen’ Windsor Great Park artefacts

The Crown Estate could be met with a legal battle if it doesn’t return Windsor Great Park artefacts that have been claimed to be stolen. On April 13, an initiative called Libya in the UK released a video on Twitter with MB Shaban, who is the first Libyan dual British ever to qualify as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Shabhan said that he was wanting to “persuade Her Majesty” to return the artefacts “to the Libyan people” and said that he sees it as his professional “duty” to negotiate for their return. The Telegraph has reported that lawyers have said that these artefacts from the Leptis Magna were illegally removed from Tripoli in the 19th century.

In the Twitter video, Shabhan said that his “starting point is to speak to the Queen’s lawyers and explain to them what conventions of repatriating cultural heritage say.” It is important to have the artefacts delivered back to the people of Libya as “it’s part of the Libyan people’s history” said Shabhan.

Read more: Windsor to see four new restaurants and cafes move in in coming months

Leptis Magna was a site founded by the Phoenicians in the first millennium BC and it was eventually incorporated into the Roman Empire. It was the largest city within the ancient region of Tripoli.

In 1816, a British officer called Hanmer Warrington decided to take back the ruins to Britain. The artefacts were made up of 22 granite columns, 15 marble columns and more, and were moved from the British museum to Windsor Great Park between August and October 1826.

The Leptis Magna artefacts in Windsor Great Park are known as 'The Temple of Augustus'
The Leptis Magna artefacts in Windsor Great Park are known as ‘The Temple of Augustus’
(Image: Berkshire Live / Darren Pepe)

In the same year that the artefacts were taken to Britain, Thomas Bruce, who was the Seventh Earl of Elgin, had sold marbles that had been stripped from the Parthenon in Athens to the British Government. These were called the Elgin Marbles and there’s been controversy in recent years as some argue they should be removed from the British Museum and returned to Greece.

A Crown Estate spokesperson said: “The Leptis Magna columns were installed at Virginia Water in the early 1800s. They remain on public display and are an important and valued feature of the Virginia Water landscape. They continue to be enjoyed by the millions of visitors to Windsor Great Park each year.”

Find out more about things to do and activities in Berkshire with our free What’s On email HERE .

GetReading – Windsor