You may have heard that the Queen of England is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee (that’s 60 years).
But what you may not know is that Virginia is helping her celebrate.
Gov. Bob McDonnell, House Speaker Bill Howell and Lord Alan Watson, a member of the House of Lords, planted a tree on Capitol Square in her honor Tuesday (though you wouldn’t know it from the governor’s schedule, which mistakenly left three events off his public calendar).
Alas, Prince Harry, who was in Washington this week planting his own maple tree, did not fight the traffic on I-95 to attend Virginia’s festivities.
Watson, who co-authored a book exploring the Queen’s relationship with the United States and Virginia, presented McDonnell with a letter from Her Majesty herself.
“When you get a letter from the Queen, you hang on to it,’’ Watson said.
Virginia, of course, has a special place in Queen Elizabeth’s heart. She wowed elected officials when she came for a visit five years ago for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown.
“I’ve never received a letter from a queen before, other than my wife,’’ McDonnell quipped.
The two-sentence letter addressed to “The Honourable Bob McDonnell” states: “The Queen was interested to learn about the tree planting which is taking place in Virginia today to commemorate the Sixtieth Anniversary of her Accession to the Throne. Her Majesty appreciates your support on her Diamond Jubilee and sends her best wishes to all those who will be present for a most memorable and enjoyable event.” It is signed in all caps: “Private Secretary’’ and includes the seal of Buckingham Palace.
McDonnell tells us he is heading to England twice in the coming months for trade missions — England and Ireland in June and England, Sweden and Germany in July. One of the trips will include a visit to the Farnborough International Air Show in London.
After his appearance in Richmond, McDonnell headed back out on his campaign-like tour across the state to call attention to all that’s right in Virginia.
Democrats have called the travel — gasp — political, but the governor says this is all part of his normal duties.
“People are looking for good news,’’ he said. “This is part of what I do.”