We Are Honored
In her annual speech to the opening session of Parliament, Queen Elizabeth II announced the news for which all of us here in America's Historic Triangle had been hoping. "The Duke of Edinburgh and I," she said, "look forward to our state visit to the United States of America in May 2007 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement."
We are honored that Her Majesty and His Royal Highness are returning to the Historic Triangle—Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown—fifty years after her visit in 1957 to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the settlement at Jamestown. It will be a particular privilege and pleasure to welcome her.
The arrival of the queen and Prince Philip will be a high point in the observance of America's 400th Anniversary, eighteen months of events marking the quadricentennial of the founding of England's first permanent New World settlement. In the words of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, honorary chair of Jamestown 2007, "Their visit to Jamestown underscores the historic ties between our two countries and the international significance of this 400th anniversary." It will be quite a time.
Actually, it already has been quite a time. We've been setting the scene, preparing and promoting the commemoration, and making ready to welcome you, as well as Her Majesty.
Last summer's sail of Jamestown's seventeenth-century replica Godspeed carried news of 2007 to six East Coast ports and 450,000 visitors. In October, our Williamsburg Lodge and Conference Center was the site of a forum that explored American Indian culture and community issues. More than a million students participated in November's Jamestown Live! an hour-long interactive Web cast moderated by journalist Gwen Ifill. In December, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine traveled to Virginia Quay in Blackwell, England, for the anniversary of the Jamestown fleet's departure.
Looking ahead to April, replica ships will reenact the colonists' Cape Henry landfall, and Godspeed will retrace the voyage up the James River. The World of 1607 exhibit opens May 1 at Jamestown Settlement with seventeenth-century treasures as well as a sixteenth-century copy of the Magna Carta.
The year's centerpiece is America's Anniversary Weekend, May 11–13, which will feature theatrical and musical performances on stages, six in all, at Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, and the adjacent, newly developed, specially designed Anniversary Park. There will be a symphony concert, a 1,607-member chorale, presentations of Native American and African American culture, lots of children's activities, and, of course, historical programs.
September 16 begins a three-day World Forum on the Future of Democracy, "Jamestown Legacies for the Twenty-first Century." It will examine the impact of globalization, technology, and democratic movements on the world economy; the impact on democracy of such global problems as terrorism, health issues, and poverty; and the future of representative government and of constitutionalism and civil liberties. The honorary chairs will be former Presidents Bush and Clinton and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
There is complete and current information at www.historictriangle.com.
Colonial Williamsburg's recently expanded Visitor Center facilities will be the official welcome center for Jamestown 2007. From Williamsburg, where colonists asserted their rights and helped create a republic, guests may catch shuttle buses to Jamestown, where Americans began the journey toward cultural diversity, representative government, and free enterprise; and to Yorktown, where colonists secured American independence.
We have reopened the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum after major fire-safety renovations, and early next month will inaugurate the new Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in the former garden of the Wallace Museum. Colonial Williamsburg's regular exhibitions and programs will be going strong throughout the year, including new Revolutionary City scenes.
2007 promises to be an exciting year for a Historic Triangle visit. Apparently, the queen thinks so, too.
Colin G. Campbell
Chairman and President