Virginia Capitol Connections Winter 2023

The next morning the eight chiefs and I attended a special service at St. George’s Church in Gravesend, the site where Pocahontas is buried. In 1617 Pocahontas and her son, Thomas Rolfe, traveled to England on a trip to create goodwill between the cultures. She was received by King James I and treated like the royalty she was. She became ill at the start of her voyage home and was taken ashore in Gravesend, where she died. Given her status as royalty she was buried in the church under the altar there. An Anglican bishop conducted the service. He took time to greet each chief, all in their formal regalia. He began the service by saying, “This is a turnabout for me. Usually, I am the person in the room with the spectacular hat!” The momentary chuckles were soon quieted by the solemnity of the occasion. We attended a seminar on “Virginia’s Native American Tribes Today” at the University of Kent hosted by Sir Robert Worchester, chancellor of the university and co-chair of the British Jamestown Commemorative Commission. Sir Robert was to introduce me and I, in turn, would introduce each of the eight chiefs. I had brought with me one of the prized books in my antiquarian collection of Virginia history, A History of the Executives of The Colony and the Commonwealth of Virginia . Published in 1898, it details the lives of Virginia chief executives starting with the granting of a patent in 1585 by Queen Elizabeth I to Sir Walter Raleigh, chief governor of Virginia, and founder of the Roanoke Colony. The book continues through Governor Philip McKinney (1890-1894). I had broeetings with the respective commemorative committees. Governor Kaine was asked to give a speech at London’s Middle Temple. Both he and the Chief Justice of England addressed the gathering assembled to commemorate the journey of the colonists to the NewWorld. The speech was to mark the occasion of the date, 400 years earlier, of the three ships leaving England to create the Virginia Colony. As a non-attorney I don’t think I recognized the significance of the invite. The name Middle Temple refers to the honorable society that certifies barristers in England and grants them authority to practice law. As an attorney himself, Governor Kaine certainly knew the significance. He addressed them on December 19, 2006, giving a speech that was so popular we named it “The Jamestown Legacy Speech.” Governor Kaine began his speech noting the honor bestowed upon him by being asked to speak. But to those who saw his speech, well researched but still extemporaneously delivered, they quickly realized the honor was all theirs. (We had to have it transcribed later to create a written record.) In early 2007, there was a great deal going on around Capitol Square besides just running the $75 billion, 121,000-employee enterprise called Virginia state government. “Mr. Jefferson’s Temple on the Hill” was undergoing a $100 million renovation. A historic renovation in the true sense of the word. One Saturday morning, I was in the office and Rich Sliwoski, the director of Virginia’s Department of General Services, called. There was a visitor attempting to gain access to the construction site. Rich said, “I wouldn’t normally bother you, Chief, but this guy says he is the British ambassador to the United States and would like a tour of the construction site. Chief, he looks the part and so does his car.” The “visitor” was David Manning, indeed the British ambassador to the United States. He apologized for the unannounced visit but was, he said, in Richmond to look at the world-renowned collection of equestrian paintings at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Rich, an amazingly astute former Army Corps of Engineers colonel, quickly surmised that the ambassador was really here doing a reconnaissance mission on whether Virginia’s Capitol building would, indeed, be ready for a visit by the queen. It would be Rich’s responsibility to make that happen. In late March we received official word that Queen Elizabeth would accept the invitation to come to Virginia. So much of the planning for the overall event had been handled by the Jamestown

Commemorative Commission, but the British Embassy now looked to the Office of the Governor for guidance. Protocol became a dominant force in decision making. The chief protocol officer from the British Embassy called me to inquire who Virginia’s chief protocol officer would be so he could begin planning. Who is Virginia’s chief protocol officer? We had never discussed such a role and didn’t have one, so I just quickly said it was me. I wasn’t completely ignorant of protocol issues having contributed to writing a Virginia protocol manual along with the clerks of the Virginia House and Senate. But protocol for a visit by a head of state of the United Kingdom to Virginia was a completely different matter. My ignorance was committing me to a substantial amount of work in the coming months. Several lunches between the governor and the ambassador would take place, in Virginia in the Executive Mansion and in Washington, D.C., at the ambassador’s residence. I would accompany the governor as chief protocol officer and Dominic Martin, the ambassador’s protocol officer, would always be in attendance. Dominic Martin requested that I set up a meeting with the mayor of Richmond, former Virginia Governor Doug Wilder. When we arrived it was clear the mayor wasn’t sure what the meeting was about. “Mayor, I’d like to introduce you to Dominic Martin from the British Embassy. He has some news for you,” I said. Dominic then informed him that “it would please the queen to make Richmond, Virginia, the first stop of her upcoming state visit to the United States.” “Splendid” was Wilder’s reaction. Then turning to me as if to wonder just why I was also there, I said, “Mayor, I am here to remind you that when she visits the United States, she will be coming to see other people besides just you.” Wilder laughed, “Bill, you are so baaad, so baaad, Bill.” Selecting a Gift(s) for the Queen I then turned my attention, in order to have sufficient lead time, to consider and select an appropriate official gift for the queen from Virginia. I asked Governor Kaine for ideas. He replied, “Bill, you know Virginia well. I trust you to come up with something.” I called State Librarian Nolan Yelich and requested research on an appropriate gift. Nolan called back. “Bill, she is fond of giving and receiving documents. In fact, when as a young queen, she visited Jamestown 50 years ago for the 350th anniversary of Jamestown, she presented Virginia with an original 1607 stock certificate of the Virginia Company.” Working with the librarian at Buckingham Palace (Nolan did all that) we purchased an original edition of Jefferson’s Notes onVirginia from an antiquarian book dealer in Boston and had it rebound to match the bindings in her library at Buckingham Palace. I must caution you that if you ever have to buy a present for the queen of England you will find Virginia’s procurement laws quite unhelpful. B ENNETT F UNERAL H OME Watch for Bill Leighty’s book launch in 2023. V

Charles D. Morehead, Sr. Funeral Director & General Manager

3215 Cutshaw Avenue Richmond, Virginia 23221

(804) 359-4481

V irginia C apitol C onnections , W inter 2023


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