When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wrap up their visit to Virginia today with visits to Williamsburg and Jamestown, it won’t be the first time they’ve traveled to our library’s home state.
Before she became queen, Princess Elizabeth and her husband visited the nation’s capital in 1951 and wandered across the border to Mt. Vernon. The Washington Post noted she had to miss her son’s third birthday to make the trip.
Six years later, she returned with Prince Philip for the 350th commemoration of the Jamestown settlement. Richard M. Nixon, the vice president under Dwight D. Eisenhower, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony. For that ceremony, three Air Force jet planes streaked above the Jamestown festival site; the planes had retraced the route of the three ships that carried the Jamestown settlers from London to the New World.
Americans seem fascinated by the nation’s royal roots. For this visit, a musician and educator from southwest Virginia, Helen White, wrote a song for Britain’s monarch, “An Appalachian Waltz for the Queen,” which she performed with teenage fiddling champion Montana Young. In addition, a retired construction equipment salesman, 78-year-old Norman Roderick, was thrilled to introduce the queen to the Virginia General Assembly in his role as Sergeant-at-Arms. He bought a red, blue and green-striped foulard for the occasion.
Lilibet: An Intimate Portrait of Elizabeth II by Carolly Erickson.
Queen and Country: The 50-Year Reign of Elizabeth II by William Shawcross.
The Monarchy: An Oral Biography of Elizabeth II by Deborah Strober.
Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II by Robert Lacey.
Philip & Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage by Gyles Brandreth.