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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Queen Elizabeth Arrives For Visit To South Africa

Associated Press

Queen Elizabeth II arrived Sunday on a historic visit, her first trip back to South Africa since she came in 1947 as a young princess of 21.

About 50 onlookers and scores of journalists were on hand for the Queen’s low-key arrival at the airport, where she was greeted by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki and a 3-year-old girl bearing peach-colored roses.

An official welcome ceremony with President Nelson Mandela was scheduled for today.

The royal visit “signals the strength of relations between this country and the United Kingdom and I think it is particularly good that she has come … so soon after the change of government here,” Mbeki told reporters.

During the hectic, six-day visit, the queen was to address the parliament elected last year in South Africa’s first all-race vote. She also was expected to bestow a top British honor on Mandela and visit black townships, clinics and schools.

Zanele Ngakane, daughter of Mbeki’s personal assistant, Nomsa Ngakane, presented the queen with a bouquet at the airport Sunday.

The queen then climbed into a helicopter for a short flight to Simon’s Town to board the royal yacht Britannia, where she was to spend the night.

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