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Queen Elizabeth II Wraps Up US Visit


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wrapped up a six-day state visit to the United States Tuesday, with a full day of events in the Washington area. From Washington, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more on the royal visit.

Queen Elizabeth II showed remarkable stamina Tuesday, visiting NASA's Goddard space flight center, a pediatric hospital and the World War II Memorial. The monarch and her husband, Prince Philip, were also due to host a formal dinner at the British Embassy Tuesday night that the President and Mrs. Bush will attend.

It was a full day's schedule for anyone, much less an 81-year-old woman and her 85-year-old husband.

Monday night, the royal couple was feted at a white-tie state dinner at the White House. The queen sparkled in a white chiffon gown and an heirloom diamond tiara. Mrs. Bush was elegant in aqua blue. One hundred thirty four guests, including former First Lady Nancy Reagan, attended the most formal evening the Bush administration has hosted.

At the dinner, President Bush toasted the long and enduring alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom, saying the advance of freedom is the best hope for lasting peace in the world.

"Based on our common values our two nations are working together for the common good," said Mr. Bush. "Together we are supporting young democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Together we are confronting global challenges such as poverty and disease and terrorism. And together we are working to build a world in which more people can enjoy prosperity and security and peace."

It has been 16 years since the Queen's last state visit to the United States. In her toast, she reflected on her youth during World War II, saying how important the American-British alliance was to her nation's survival.

"Tonight I would like to recognize that steadfast commitment your country has shown not just in the last 16 years, but throughout my life, in support of a Europe whole and free," she said.

During World War II, the queen, then a teenage princess, participated in the war effort becoming a driver in the women's branch of the British Army. Tuesday afternoon, she honored American soldiers with a visit to the World War II memorial in Washington, where she placed a wreath and met veterans of the war in the Pacific.

Following the British Embassy dinner, the Queen and Prince Philip will depart on a late-night flight home.