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White House Rolls Out Pomp And Pageantry For Queen's State Visit


Pomp and ceremony is the order of the day at the White House for the state visit of Britain's Queen Elizabeth. VOA's Paula Wolfson has details.

They rolled out the red carpet at the White House for the Queen.

Bands played, military units stood at attention, and 7,000 people filled the White House south lawn - all part of the pageantry surrounding the arrival of the British monarch.

President Bush is a leader known for his love of informal gatherings. But on this day, there was nothing but formality - from the strict protocol of the arrival ceremony with its 21-gun salute, to a white-tie state dinner.

"Your majesty, the United States receives with honor the sovereign of the United Kingdom," he said.

On a morning of blue skies and soft breezes, the president and the Queen stood together before the flags of their two countries - a symbol of the ongoing relationship between the United States and Great Britain. President Bush spoke of the Queen's compassion and commitment during their joint struggle against terrorism and extremism in the Middle East.

"I appreciate your leadership during these times of danger and decision," he said. "You have spoken out against extremism and terror. You have encouraged religious tolerance and reconciliation. You have honored those returning from battle, and comforted the families of the fallen."

But despite the reference to the war, the day provided a brief respite from the trials of a conflict half a world away. All eyes were on the 81-year-old British monarch who spoke in stately, even tones.

"In Washington, we have a further opportunity to acknowledge the present strength of our relationship," she said. "I shall enjoy not only renewing old acquaintances and making new ones, but also recognizing the depth and breadth of the friendship we have shared for so long."

Washington is the last stop on a six-day visit to the United States by Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Phillip. They began their trip in the nearby state of Virginia, where they visited Jamestown, which is marking its 400th anniversary of its founding as the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.

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