JAMESTOWN, Va. – Queen Elizabeth II strolled Friday through a replica of a fortress built four centuries ago at what would become America's first permanent English settlement, then saw remains of the actual structure.
The queen, flanked by Vice President Dick Cheney and Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, strolled through Jamestown's tourist village of thatch-roofed buildings to commemorate the settlement's 400th anniversary.
In his welcoming remarks, Cheney noted the queen's last visit to Jamestown 50 years ago.
"Half a century has done nothing to diminish the respect and affection this country holds for you. We receive you again today in that same spirit," Cheney told the queen in a welcoming speech.
The queen did not speak.
She was greeted by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who said American law derived from Great Britain "is the great and lasting achievement we celebrate today."
Large crowds waited amid tight security to see the queen, lining her path through Jamestown Settlement.
"I got lucky. Everyone in the world knows Queen Elizabeth II. She's come so far and I just wanted to see her," said Carol Rideout, a retired scientist.
The queen toured a replica of an armory, and she smiled as she touched a gloved hand to a 17th century breastplate. She walked to the James River, where replicas of the three ships that the settlers arrived in were docked. A cannon was fired from one of the ships in tribute to her.
Later, at Historic Jamestowne, she toured the archaeological museum and the excavation of the north bulwark of the 1607 James Fort.
During her 1957 visit to the same grounds, she was told that the site of the original three-sided palisade had been consumed by the adjacent James River. Excavation of the site began in 1994, and the fort was discovered in 1996.
She was shown excavation trays containing chess pieces, iron knives, copper baubles and the discarded claws of crabs that had been a meal for the settlers.
Later, the queen was scheduled to visit the College of William and Mary before heading to Louisville, Ky., to watch Saturday's Kentucky Derby. She's also expected to visit Washington, D.C., and attend a state dinner with President Bush before leaving on Tuesday.
On Thursday, she addressed the Virginia General Assembly, where she praised the cultural changes that have occurred since her last visit. Then, the anniversary was an all-white affair in a state with a government in open defiance of a 1954 Supreme Court order to desegregate public schools.
She also mentioned the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech, where a gunman killed 32 people and then himself. Afterward, she met briefly with students and faculty from Virginia Tech, including three who were wounded. She also met with 100-year-old Oliver W. Hill, a civil rights attorney whose litigation helped bring about that 1954 desegregation decision.
Then the queen was off to Virginia's restored 18th-century capital. She arrived in Colonial Williamsburg and waved a gloved hand at the several thousand people who lined Duke of Gloucester Street despite a drizzle to watch the carriage take her past homes, stores and taverns to her hotel.