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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 May 2007, 02:04 GMT 03:04 UK
Queen sees historic US settlement
The Queen in the US
The Queen last visited Jamestown at the age of 31
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have visited the site of the US's first permanent English settlement, to mark its 400th anniversary.

The royal couple, accompanied by Vice-President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne, visited an archaeological dig and museum at Jamestown, Virginia.

The Queen is making her first US visit for 16 years.

During her six-day East Coast tour she will also attend the Kentucky Derby and meet President George W Bush.

On Friday, she and Prince Philip visited the Jamestown Fort, which is a reconstruction of the building built by English settlers.

They also saw the remains of the actual fort, and were given a tour of the archaeological site where thousands or artefacts have been found.

"James Towne" was established on 14 May 1607 by settlers who had set sail from Britain in three ships in search of gold and other metals.

Half a century has done nothing to diminish the respect and affection this country holds for you
Dick Cheney
US vice-president

The Queen also visited Jamestown 50 years ago.

"Half a century has done nothing to diminish the respect and affection this country holds for you," Mr Cheney said in a welcoming speech.

"We receive you again today in that same spirit."

'Sad history'

Organisers of the anniversary are said to have banned the word "celebrations" in favour of commemoration.

Jamie Ware-Jondrau, one of the native Americans taking part in the ceremony, said Jamestown's was a sad history.

"It's not a celebration. It's a commemoration to remember all of the native people who have lost lives," she said.

"It's very sad but I don't stay stuck on sad. How would you feel if a generation of your people was almost annihilated?

"You can't change history, it was ugly and native people died. But today is a new day."

Queen's sympathies

The Queen's programme of events is aimed at forging bonds between Britain and the US and focusing on their shared future.

But there have been calls for the Queen to apologise for the introduction of slavery and the slaughter of American Indians.

In a speech to Virginia's general assembly on Thursday she talked of how the bonds between the US and the UK were far stronger than any "temporary differences of opinion".

"Friendship is a complex concept," she said.

The Queen also extended her sympathies to the students and families and friends of the 32 people killed by a gunman at Virginia tech college in April.

"On behalf of the people of the United Kingdom I extend my deepest sympathies at this time of such grief and sorrow," she said.

The state visit's finale will be two days in Washington DC, where the Queen will be entertained by President Bush, visit a Nasa space centre and meet some GI brides.

It is the fourth state visit to the US by the Queen and the Duke, following tours in 1957, 1976, for the US Bicentennial, and 1991.




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