Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Relive Queen Elizabeth II's visit

Her 2007 visit to Jamestown and Williamsburg is the subject of a PBS documentary series.

By MARK ST. JOHN ERICKSON | 757-247-4952
Hampton Roads Daily Press
November 11, 2008

Fans of Queen Elizabeth II will be able to relive her historic 2007 visit to Jamestown and Williamsburg when PBS presents the opening episode of "Monarchy, The Royal Family at Work," Wednesday, November 11 at 8 PM, local times.

The two-hour-long first installment of the documentary series focuses on the English monarch's tour of Historic Jamestowne, including the experiences of numerous local figures involved in the behind-the-scenes preparations for her May 2007 visit.

PBS describes the Virginia episode — titled "The State Visit" — as an "opportunity to follow the elaborate preparations in Virginia and Britain as the queen gets ready to visit America." The cameras follow the extensive arrangements at several different locations, including the archaeological dig at Historic Jamestowne and the Williamsburg Inn in Colonial Williamsburg.

Among the local figures featured are chief archaeologist William Kelso, the discoverer of James Fort, who is shown brushing up on royal etiquette before conducting a tour for the queen.

"You don't say it's a pleasure to meet you — because she already knows it's a pleasure to meet her," Kelso says, laughing as he readies himself to be the queen's guide.

"I'm just going to say, 'Your Majesty!' That's it."

Other scenes show the nervous staff of the inn as they make sure Her Majesty's rooms are prepared to an exacting standard of perfection.

Former Newport News resident Elizabeth Kostelny, now executive director of APVA Preservation Virginia — which owns the historic James Fort site — also figures prominently in the royal "walkabout" at Jamestown. Shown attending the queen as she mixed with the onlooking crowd, Kostelny is the American lady wearing the big hat.

"The queen's state visit to Historic Jamestowne brought worldwide attention to America's 400th anniversary commemoration and renewed awareness of the archaeological research that is revealing a new understanding of this nation's origins at Historic Jamestowne," she says.

"From the extraordinary preparations to the remarkable execution, this visit underscored the historic ties that our two nations share — beginning right here at Historic Jamestowne."

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