Queen to visit Jamestown anniversary in May 2007

November 16, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, will travel to the United States in May for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Va., the White House said yesterday.

The state visit will commemorate the establishment of the first permanent English settlement in the colonies, 13 years before the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts.

The queen briefly mentioned her plans yesterday during her annual address to the opening of Parliament. In a statement after her speech, President Bush praised "an extraordinary friendship that is sustained by deep historical and cultural ties."

"We look forward to Her Majesty's state visit as an occasion to celebrate these enduring bonds," he said. No date was announced.

In 1957, on her first state visit to the United States, the queen and her husband took part in Jamestown's 350th anniversary events

"I am proud that the Commonwealth will once again have the high honor and privilege of hosting Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to commemorate the 400th anniversary of this pivotal moment in our history," Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine said.

In January 1607, three sailing ships left England, carrying 105 explorers sponsored by the Virginia Company, which hoped to exploit the resources of the New World. On May 14, 1607, the Englishmen, led by Capt. John Smith, started building their settlement on the banks of what became known as the James River, named for King James I.

The 400th anniversary events began in May, when a replica of the Godspeed, one of the ships that brought the settlers to Virginia, was launched. It has traveled to ports along the East Coast to publicize the celebration.

The highlight of the commemoration, "America's Anniversary Weekend," will be May 11-13, 2007, at three historic sites in Jamestown. Bush and his wife, Laura, and other dignitaries have been invited.

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