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Mount Vernon most recently hosted Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. Since acquiring the landmark property in 1858, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association has welcomed many notable guests to Mount Vernon, the Virginia estate of America’s first president, George Washington. These distinguished guests include quite a few members of the British royal family.

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1860-1900: Early Royal Visits

The first member of the British royal family to visit the United States, King Edward VII, son of Queen Victoria, came to Mount Vernon on October 5, 1860 when he was still known as Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.

The welcoming party included U.S. President Buchanan, U.S. Supreme Court judges, and members of the U.S. Congress. During his visit, the Prince consented to plant a small buckeye tree in front of Washington’s Tomb in commemoration of the historic visit.

The son of Queen Victoria, Prince Arthur (later known as the Duke of Connaught) arrived on the estate in 1869, four years after the conclusion of the American Civil War.

The next British royal to travel to Mount Vernon was Princess Aribert (Princess Marie Louise of Schleweswig-Holstein), a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, in 1900. She was accompanied by the U.S. Secretary of State, John Hay.

According to Colonel Harrison Howell Dodge, the Director of Mount Vernon from 1885-1937, Princess Aribert “expressed much interest and pleasure in her visit and commented most favorably on the beauty of the place, saying that America owed a great debt to the devoted Ladies who had preserved this historic spot to their country." (1)

President Buchanan and the British Prince of Wales visit George Washington’s tomb in October 1860, painting by James Rossiter (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

Edward VII by Samuel Luke Fildes, 1902. When King Edward visited Mount Vernon in 1860 he was still known as Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.

1900-1950: British Royal Visits During an Era of Change

Following the royal visit of 1900, Prince Louis of Battenberg (Louis Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven), the grandfather of His Royal Highness Prince Phillip, visited Mount Vernon in 1905.

After the First World War, while he was still known as the Prince of Wales, King Edward VIII (later known as the Duke of Windsor) arrived at Mount Vernon by automobile on November 13, 1919, accompanied by U.S. Vice President Marshall. Following the tradition introduced by King Edward VII, the Prince planted a small English yew tree near Washington’s Tomb.

On the eve of the Second World War, King George VI, brother of King Edward VIII and father of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, was a guest at Mount Vernon on a sweltering summer’s day on June 9, 1939. Arriving on President Franklin Roosevelt’s yacht, the King and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, were accompanied by the President and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, members of the President’s Cabinet and their wives, officials of the British Embassy, as well as other noted guests. As they disembarked, they were greeted by the Regent of Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, Mrs. Horace Mann Towner and the director of Mount Vernon, Charles Cecil Wall, as well as twenty-four Vice Regents, or board members, of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. The King was presented with a set of The Diaries of George Washington, which “was received with special gratitude and appreciation." (2)



King Edward VIII, then known as the Prince of Wales, visited Mount Vernon in 1919, accompanied by U.S. Vice President Marshall. (Mount Vernon Ladies' Association)

King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth were guests at Mount Vernon on June 9, 1939. (Mount Vernon Ladies' Association)

1950-2000: The First Visits of HM the Queen and HRH Prince Charles

Following the visit of her parents, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited Mount Vernon as a princess in 1951, and 40 years later as queen in 1991, accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Philip. Her Majesty’s younger sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, also was a guest at Mount Vernon on November 16, 1965.

His Royal Highness Prince Charles’s first visit to the home of George Washington was on July 17, 1970. He was accompanied by his sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, and the daughters and son-in-law of President Richard M. Nixon.

During the Queen’s most recent visit in 1991, she and Prince Philip were shown the Mansion and outbuildings. Her Majesty placed a wreath at Washington’s Tomb. Afterwards, the Queen and the Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, Mrs. Clarence M. Bishop, dedicated the newly-renovated wharf on the Potomac River. Her Majesty received flowers from Washington’s garden as a token of appreciation.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is greeted by guests during a reception celebrating the dedication of Mount Vernon's wharf in 1991. (Mount Vernon Ladies' Association)

His Royal Highness Prince Charles’s first visit to the home of George Washington was on July 17, 1970. He was accompanied by his sister, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne. Here, Prince Charles is shown Washington's New Room in the Mansion. (Mount Vernon Ladies' Association)

British Royal Visits to Mount Vernon 2000 - Present

In 2001, Mount Vernon welcomed the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth, His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and, in 2006, received His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Mount Vernon also welcomed Their Royal Highnesses Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, to the estate on March 18, 2015. 

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His Royal Highness Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Her Royal Highness Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, admire the English yew planted by Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1919 at Washington's Tomb. (MVLA)


(1) Dodge, Colonel Harrison Howell, Mount Vernon: Its Owner and Its Story (Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott, 1932), 99-101.

(2) The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, Minutes of the Council, 1940, 31-32.

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