The Queen's Official Visit to Jamestown and Williamsburg, 1957
Courtesy: Library of Virginia
On May 3-4, 2007, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will make her 257th official trip — this time to Virginia — in
recognition of the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, the nation’s first permanent English settlement
In 1957, The Queen and Prince Philip came to Virginia for Jamestown's 350th anniversary celebration. They were
welcomed with a 21-gun salute at the Patrick Henry Airport. At Jamestown, The Queen told the crowd of 10,000 that
the settlement at Jamestown was the beginning of a series of overseas settlements made throughout the world by
British pioneers. She asked that the ideals of the Jamestown settlers be pursued with faith and determination,
"so that 350 years from now our descendants will be as proud of us as we are of our forefathers."
(Richmond Times-Dispatch "Queen Elizabeth, Philip Welcomed in Virginia, Oct. 17, 1957).
Richard M. Nixon, then vice president under Dwight D. Eisenhower, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony,
as three Air Force jet planes streaked above the Jamestown festival site. The planes had retraced the route
of the Jamestown settlers' three ships from London to the New World (The Washington Post, "Queen to Visit U.S.,
Will Go to Jamestown," May 12, 1957).
After The Queen's visit at Jamestown, which included a tour of Festival Park and a religious service at Old Tower
Church on Jamestown Island, The Queen and Prince Philip went to Williamsburg and enjoyed tea at the College of William
and Mary. HM The Queen spoke from the balcony of The Wren Building - the nation's oldest academic building in
continuous occupation - telling the audience of several hundred that "rarely has any country been able to produce
a group of such enlightened and skilled statesmen as those who gathered around George Washington." (New York Times
"Queen in Virginia Acclaims Leaders of the Revolution", Oct. 17, 1957.)
Later that day, a reception took place for 1,500 guests at the Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, followed by a State
Dinner at the Williamsburg Inn. Overall, it was estimated that 50,000 people were able to see The Queen in Virginia. (RT-D ibid)
The Colonial Parkway - linking Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown - was completed for the 350th anniversary as well
as the building of Jamestown Festival Park, which is known today as Jamestown Settlement.