With Prince Philip and Virginia Gov. Charles S. Robb looking on, the sailing ship Godspeed set off from London today in a re-enactment of the voyage that carried English settlers to America 378 years ago.
The crew of 14 Virginians unfurled two of the 68-foot ship’s topsails, and the Godspeed glided down the Thames on the start of a planned 6,000-mile journey expected to take 10 weeks.
The three-masted pine vessel, paid for by Virginia, is a replica of the original Godspeed that landed at Jamestown, Va., in 1607, 13 years before the Mayflower went to Plymouth Rock, Mass.
The flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia fluttered from the Godspeed’s aft mast.
Prince Philip asked what the flag depicted, and Robb’s wife, Lynda, unabashedly explained that it showed a female warrior with her foot on the neck of a prostrate enemy and with a Latin motto that means, “Thus always to tyrants.”
“Who is it referring to?,” the prince asked the governor with obvious delight.
Robb responded that it was George III, the British king during the American Revolution.
“Is it Queen Elizabeth II?” the prince said, not letting the governor off the hook.
Robb assured Philip that it was not the current monarch.