Britain's Queen Elizabeth Tours Jamestown Settlement

Friday, May 4th 2007, 11:35 am
By: News On 6

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) _ Queen Elizabeth II walked through a replica of America's first English settlement on Friday as crowds lined her path to catch a glimpse of royalty.

The queen, flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney and Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, strolled through Jamestown's tourist village of thatch-roofed buildings to commemorate the settlement's 400th anniversary.

In his welcoming remarks, Cheney noted the queen's last visit to Jamestown 50 years ago.

``Half a century has done nothing to diminish the respect and affection this country holds for you. We receive you again today in that same spirit,'' Cheney told the queen in a welcoming speech.

The queen did not speak.

She was greeted by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who said American law derived from Great Britain ``is the great and lasting achievement we celebrate today.''

Large crowds waited amid tight security to see the queen, lining her path through Jamestown Settlement.

``I got lucky. Everyone in the world knows Queen Elizabeth II. She's come so far and I just wanted to see her,'' said Carol Rideout, a retired scientist.

The queen toured a replica of an armory, and she smiled as she touched a gloved hand to a 17th century breastplate. She walked to the James River, where replicas of the three ships the settlers arrived in were docked. A cannon was fired from one of the ships in tribute to her.

After visiting the archaeological site where remains of the original fort have been found, the queen was scheduled to visit the College of William and Mary. Later, she was heading to Louisville, Ky., where she is to watch the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. She's also expected to visit Washington, D.C., and attend a state dinner with President Bush before leaving on Tuesday.

On Thursday, she addressed the Virginia General Assembly, where she praised the cultural changes that have occurred since her last visit. Then, the anniversary was an all-white affair in a state with a government in open defiance of a 1954 Supreme Court order to desegregate public schools.

She also mentioned the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech, where a gunman killed 32 people and then himself. Afterward, she met briefly with students and faculty from Virginia Tech, including three who were wounded. She also met with 100-year-old Oliver W. Hill, a civil rights attorney whose litigation helped bring about that 1954 desegregation decision.

Then the queen was off to Virginia's restored 18th-century capital. She arrived in Colonial Williamsburg and waved a gloved hand at the several thousand people who lined Duke of Gloucester Street despite a drizzle to watch the carriage take her past homes, stores and taverns to her hotel.