MOUNT VERNON, Va. – The cameras were set, the reporters were poised and the crowds were gathering outside George Washington’s mansion at Mount Vernon.
Stragglers came up to reporters on the edge of the press section and whispered excitedly, “Who are you waiting for?”
Men in suits with not-so subtle ear pieces arrived on the lawn to guard the porch.
The door on the right side of the porch creaked open to reveal a dark shadow.
“Door’s opening!” reporters shouted to each other.
Stepping out into the sunlight, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, looked over the crowd of cameras and tourists to enjoy the view of the Potomac River with tour guides and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. If they thought about Washington’s role in defeating the British in the fight for American independence, they didn’t say anything about it publicly.
Prince Charles and Camilla arrived Tuesday for a four day trip to the United States to strengthen diplomatic ties and celebrate history. British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott welcomed the royal couple to the embassy with a reception.
“Their trip to Washington and Kentucky will showcase the best of the transatlantic relationship – promoting democratic values, combating climate change, preserving the natural environment, creating opportunities for the next generation,” Westmacott said in a statement.
Wednesday, Prince Charles and Camilla toured the Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. memorials before heading to Mount Vernon.
There, the couple toured the mansion. Camilla left to attend a performance at Shakespeare Theatre Company, but Charles stayed to tour the farm. He met people dressed in colonial attire and talked with the staff about oxen and horses.
In recent years, Mount Vernon has recreated barns and fields to show what the working plantation would have looked like in Washington’s day.
Charles went to the National Archives in the afternoon to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. The couple was to end the day Wednesday with a private dinner for U.S. donors to their charity.
The couple will meet with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden Thursday at the White House. They will tour the Armed Forces Retirement Home on the grounds of Lincoln’s Cottage, where he often went to escape the noise and heat of downtown Washington.
This is Prince Charles’ 20th official visit to the U.S., not counting two private trips. He visited Mount Vernon for the first time in 1970 with his sister Princess Anne.
Camilla is completing her third trip to the United States with the Prince of Wales.
Reach reporter Tori Knueven at [email protected] or 202-408-1492. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
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