Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, will travel to the United States in May to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, Va., the White House said Wednesday.
The state visit will commemorate the establishment of the first permanent English settlement in the Colonies, 13 years before the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts.
The queen mentioned her plans Wednesday in her annual address at the opening of Parliament. In a statement released after her speech, President Bush praised “an extraordinary friendship that is sustained by deep historical and cultural ties.”
“We look forward to her majesty’s state visit as an occasion to celebrate these enduring bonds,” he said. No specific dates were announced.
In 1957, on her first state visit to the United States, the queen and her husband took part in Jamestown’s 350th anniversary events.
“I am proud that the Commonwealth will once again have the high honor and privilege of hosting Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to commemorate the 400th anniversary of this pivotal moment in our history,” Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said.
In December 1606, three ships left London, carrying more than 100 explorers sponsored by the Virginia Co., which hoped to exploit the New World’s resources. On May 14, 1607, the Englishmen, led by Capt. John Smith, started their settlement on the banks of what became known as the James River, named for King James I.
The 400th anniversary events began this May, when a replica of the Godspeed, one of the ships that brought the settlers to Virginia, was launched.
The highlight of the commemoration, called America’s Anniversary Weekend, will be May 11-13 in Jamestown.