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The monarch and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive for engagements in the capital of Virginia in an open top carriage. Queen Elizabeth's six-day tour commemorates the 400th anniversary of the first English settlement in the New World
Photo: © AFP
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The royal matriarch watches a ceremonial dance by Native Americans during her visit to the Capitol building in Richmond
Photo: © PA

America welcomes Queen with gusto as she kicks off U.S. tour

4 MAY 2007

Millions of Americans watched Helen Mirren's Oscar-winning portrayal of the Queen, which took over $50 million at the US box office. The nation got a chance to meet the real British monarch, though, when she arrived in the Virginian capital of Richmond this week on her first state visit since 1991.

Over 8,000 people turned out get a glimpse of the British sovereign when she embarked upon her six-day trip with a visit to the State Capitol Building. Wearing a lilac wool coat with coral trim and a Philip Somerville titfer with matching lilac edging she braved the rain to greet well wishers gathered outside, who included a group of local schoolchildren eager to secure a photo memento of the special day.

The British head of state also got to meet some Native Americans - chiefs and members of eight Virginia tribes - who performed a special dance in her honour wearing elaborate feathered head-dresses and animal skins.

With the meeting and greeting over, the 81-year-old monarch was treated to a rousing reception from assembly delegates, who cheered and banged their desks as the royal matriarch entered. Her speech - in which she spoke of the adventurers who founded the first US settlement and expressed her sympathy over the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech University - received an equally enthusiastic reception and was greeted by a standing ovation.

On Friday, the Queen - who is accompanied on the visit by her husband Prince Philip - moved on to Jamestown to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first English settlement. Before heading back to the UK next week she will also meet President Bush and visit a NASA space centre.

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