The last time Queen Elizabeth II visited the Washington region, she took in a baseball game in Baltimore but did not go to the state's birthplace, at St. Clement's Island. Sixteen years later, she might make up for it.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) has invited the queen to visit St. Mary's County when she travels to Jamestown for the colony's 400th anniversary celebration in May. English settlers landed on St. Clement's Island 27 years after the first permanent settlement in Virginia was established in 1607.
"The State of Maryland has a strong historic bond to England," Mikulski wrote in her letter to the British ambassador, David Manning, citing the gift by King Charles I of the territory to Lord Cecil Calvert of Baltimore. "The people of Maryland would be so proud to welcome the Queen to St. Mary's County. Her visit would celebrate the history that helped create the special friendship between the United States and Great Britain."
Mikulski, who was nearing the end of her first term in the Senate when the queen visited Maryland in 1991, said it would be regrettable for Her Majesty to come so close to St. Clement's again without making a stop.
"If she's coming to Jamestown, why not St. Mary's?" Mikulski said at a recent gathering of local officials and business leaders. "Why should Jamestown have all the fun?"
A spokesman at Buckingham Palace said that the itinerary for the queen's U.S. trip has not been set -- organizers of the Jamestown celebration don't even know the date she will visit -- and that officials are considering a number of invitations. He added that St. Mary's County would be "seriously considered" because of its significance and proximity to Jamestown.
"The primary reason for the queen's visit is to celebrate and commemorate Jamestown," said the spokesman, David Pogson. "It is quite normal for there to be a lot of speculation prior to a formal announcement, but there are a number of different things to take into consideration."
Pogson said the queen's schedule might be set "very soon," although he declined to provide a time frame.
Jack Russell, president of the St. Mary's County Board of Commissioners, said that he had not heard about Mikulski's effort before it came up at last week's meeting but that he is excited about the possibility.
"We would be honored to have Her Majesty amongst us crab people," said Russell (D-At Large). "We'd feed her some hard crabs, which might loosen her up a little bit."
Without missing a beat, Russell said he would ensure that the queen had three culinary experiences while in Southern Maryland: sampling steamed crabs and stuffed ham and making a trip to Courtney's Restaurant in Ridge for seafood.
"It may be simple, but that's Jack Russell's take," the former waterman and charter boat captain said.
Christina Barbour, site supervisor at the St. Clement's Island Museum, said the queen probably would appreciate its artifacts, including an account of the voyage from England. Other British visitors have enjoyed learning about the countries' shared history, she said.
"If she does have an opportunity, for her to see the museum's items from the island's very beginning as it developed might be of interest," Barbour said.
Although no sitting queen has visited St. Mary's County, the Duke and Duchess of Kent toured St. Mary's City, Maryland's first capital, as part of the state's 350th anniversary celebration in 1984.