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Commemorating 400 years
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The Queen's Official Visit to Jamestown and Williamsburg, 1957

The Queen's Visit in 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.


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America's 400th
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Images from the visit - (click on an image to view a larger version)

Queen Elizabeth II visits Jamestown in 1957 The Queen at Jamestown, 1957
Courtesy:
Library of Virginia
Queen Elizabeth II at the Jamestown Fort in 1957 Jamestown Fort in 1957
Courtesy:
Library of Virginia
Queen Elizabeth II visit to Virginia in 1957 The Queen addresses Virginians
Courtesy:
Library of Virginia
 

Additional Information

Jamestown Festival - 1957
Royal Visits
Official Web Site of the British Monarchy