Queen Elizabeth greeted at White House
May 7, 2007 - 10:34:53 PM

Washington, May 7 - A 21-gun salute marked the arrival Monday of Queen Elizabeth II at the White House, where she stood with US President George W. Bush during the playing of the two countries' national anthems.

Dressed in a white jacket with black scalloped collar and cuffs and a black and white hat, Elizabeth was greeted by an estimated 7,000 people gathered on the White House lawn.

The ceremony kicked off Elizabeth's official state visit to the US, where she arrived last week to commemorate the founding of the first British colony in America 400 years ago, in Jamestown, Virginia.

It was by any measure a serious occasion, with Queen Elizabeth and Bush giving solemn testimony to shared values of freedom and democracy. But there was a bit of levity too.

As Bush enumerated the number of official exchanges between Elizabeth and the US over the years, he fumbled his lines.

'You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 - in 1976,' he said.

The queen shot him a sharp or jesting look, it wasn't clear from afar, prompting Bush to quip: 'She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.'

Bush emphasized the heritage of democracy, going back to England's Magna Carta nearly 800 years ago, and mentioning how British parliaments 'established principles that guide all modern democracies'.

Alluding to the British-US alliance in Iraq and the current difficulties there, Bush said that the two nations were 'defending liberty against tyranny and terror'.

'Our work has been hard. The fruits of our work have been difficult for many to see,' he said.

Elizabeth said the visit provided an opportunity to 'reflect on the very essence of our relationship'.

'My two days in Virginia gave me a new insight into those events which helped to shape this country's development and to lay the foundations of this great nation based on shared principles of equality, democracy and the rule of law,' she said.

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