Britain's Queen Elizabeth visited the historic Jamestown Settlement Friday, in the U.S. state of Virginia. Jamestown was the first permanent English colony in what would become the United States.
The Queen's visit is part of commemorations of the Virginia settlement's 400th anniversary.
The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, accompanied by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne, arrived at the historic settlement Friday morning.
In May 1607, 104 English settlers landed at the site on the James River. The dangerous Atlantic crossing took five difficult months and nearly half the original group died within months of their arrival. But despite great difficulty, what began as a
commercial venture and a search for a new water route to the Pacific, became the foundation of a new nation.
Vice President Cheney said the settlers' arrival changed the world.
"Inside a little three-sided fort in this corner of Virginia large events were set in motion and great and noble traditions were introduced to America. So we pay homage to the first English settlement on the North American shore and we mark the 14th
of May 1607 as a providential moment in the life of this nation."
This is the 81 year old monarch's fourth State visit to the United States. Her first was fifty years ago, just after she had become queen, and it was also to Jamestown, as Mr. Cheney noted.
"A half-century has done nothing to diminish the respect and affection which this country holds you. And we receive you again today in that same spirit. You honor us by returning for this anniversary of Jamestown settlement and we deeply appreciate your presence this morning."
The queen, wearing a teal coat and matching hat, did not address the crowd. Later she toured the fort with the vice president. Her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, a former officer in the British Royal Navy, accompanied Mrs. Cheney aboard a
replica of the ship the Susan Constant, the largest of the three ships that brought the Jamestown settlers to North America.
After Jamestown, the royal couple visits the nearby College of William & Mary. Founded by a royal charter in 1693, it is the second oldest college in the United States. Saturday, the horse-loving monarch will travel to the state of Kentucky to attend the famous Kentucky Derby horse race. Monday night, the Bushes will entertain the royals at a White House State Dinner.