The Queen has fulfilled a lifelong ambition by visiting the Kentucky Derby, one of America’s premier horse races, whilst on a week long tour of the U.S. Her Majesty was warmly greeted by the crowds as she began her first U.S. visit for 16 years, with a visit to Richmond, Virginia. Many people were eager to catch a glimpse of the real-life monarch made famous by Helen Mirren in her Oscar-winning movie, “The Queen”. Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz has produced an official portrait of The Queen to mark her visit to America. The imposing photo was inspired by a Cecil Beaton photo of Her Majesty taken over 40 years ago and shows the Queen sitting in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, dressed in a pale gold evening dress, fur stole and diamond tiara.
Whilst in Virginia, The Queen paid tribute to the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings saying that her heart went out to them and had a private meeting with some of the survivors and bereaved families affected by the tragedy. The Queen and Prince Philip also toured Jamestown, celebrating its 400th anniversary as the first English settlement in the Americas.
U.S. President George Bush and his wife Laura are due to welcome the Queen and Prince Philip to the White House today, where a special banquet will be held in their honour. The Queen will then be delivering a keynote speech before heading off to a garden party at the British ambassador’s residence.