- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 24, 2007

LONDON - Queen Elizabeth II will pay tribute to the 32 victims killed in the Virginia Tech massacre when she visits the United States next month, her office said yesterday.

Buckingham Palace was in discussions with the British Embassy in Washington and Virginia authorities to determine what form the tribute may take, although a royal visit to the campus was ruled out, a spokeswoman said.

“It’s important that it’s done in the right way so that the Virginia Tech community and governor’s office are content,” the spokeswoman told reporters at a pre-trip briefing at the palace.

“It’s a significant and terrible tragedy in the state. As the queen is visiting so closely after the tragedy, it’s important that it’s recognized and everybody readily agrees to that.”

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, will be in the United States from May 3 to May 8 to mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America.

The queen has accepted an invitation to address a special joint session of Virginia’s General Assembly at the renovated Capitol in Richmond on May 3, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine announced yesterday.

The General Assembly traces its origins to the House of Burgesses, which first met in Jamestown in 1619. It is heralded as the oldest continuous lawmaking body in the New World.

“While the location and name of Virginia’s legislature have changed since 1619, the democratic ideals which took root in the House of Burgesses remain the foundation of this commonwealth and our nation,” Mr. Kaine said.

On May 4, the queen is to visit the Jamestown Settlement living history museum and the Jamestown archaeological dig site, then go to the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, 50 years after her visit to the campus.

“It will be a great moment in the life of the college and an unparalleled thrill for our students, faculty, staff and alumni to host the queen once again and further strengthen the bonds between the nation’s second-oldest college and our historic roots with the United Kingdom,” university President Gene R. Nichol said.

King William III and Queen Mary II granted a royal charter to establish the school in 1693.

The royal couple also will attend the Kentucky Derby and be guests of honor at a state dinner at the White House.

They also will tour NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, where the queen will witness conversations between mission control and astronauts on the International Space Station, and visit the World War II Memorial on the Mall.

It will be the queen’s fourth state visit to the United States, and her first in 16 years. During her first trip in 1957, she met President Eisenhower for the 350th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement.

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