The Queen is coming
April 27, 2007
__Queen Elizabeth II of U.K. will make her first trip to the College since 1957__
Queen Elizabeth II will visit the Commonwealth of Virginia at the beginning of May, including a stop at the College May 4, a Buckingham Palace Spokesman said. The six-day visit is in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement.
An itinerary released online said that the afternoon of Friday, May 4, the Queen will visit the College, where she will meet students and faculty, request a ringing of the Wren Bell and receive a gift from the senior class.
p. President Gene Nichol announced the Queen’s impending visit in an e-mail to students Tuesday.
p. “We’re extremely honored to welcome back to our campus Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II — 50 years following her first historic visit to the College of William and Mary,” Nichol said. “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.”
p. Vice President for Student Affairs Sam Sadler said that he expects thousands to attend the Friday ceremony.
p. “It’s pretty exciting for the College. The Queen is making two public appearances in Williamsburg, and one will be on our campus,” Sadler said. “It’s very rare that a British monarch comes to an American university. We should all feel very honored. [The visit] really reflects our heritage as a university that was founded by the crown.”
p. Nichol canceled classes May 4 to facilitate the Queen’s visit. Faculty and staff will also receive time off as a chance to participate.
p. Nichol acknowledged that some problems may arise from the class cancelation.
p. “The announcement, I’ll concede, comes closer to the events than is ideal,” Nichol said. “But these limitations inhere in a royal visit. And they will also, we hope, help sustain a unique opportunity for all to participate.”
p. Sadler acknowledged that canceling classes was a “challenging decision,” but noted that holding classes would be impractical with so many public attendees and security concerns.
p. “We’ve moved all end-of-class, Blowout activities to Thursday,” Sadler said.
p. He added that the Queen will be accompanied by Virginia state police, the secret service and British security. Magnetometers will be placed around the Wren building and all visitors will be screened for security purposes.
p. According to ABC News, the Queen will pay tribute to the Virginia Tech massacre during her visit, although she will not visit Blacksburg.
p. “As the queen is visiting so shortly after the tragedy, it is important that it be recognized,” an unidentified spokeswoman said. “It’s a significant and terrible tragedy.”
p. Queen Elizabeth II last visited the College 50 years ago during the 350th anniversary of Jamestown’s founding. During that visit, the Queen had tea with then-College President Alvin Chandler and his wife, then toured the Wren Building and accepted a gift of six original drawings of buildings on campus.
p. Her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, will not join the Queen. Instead, he will spend the afternoon touring the U.S.S. Wisconsin, a decommissioned Iowa-class battleship moored in Norfolk at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.
p. The College will post information as it becomes available online at www.wm.edu/hermajesty.
p. __Flat Hat News Editor Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.__