It’s been 40 years since Lord John Jacob Astor VIII has been back to Astoria.

But at an extended dining table at a city-hosted dinner Thursday night, the Astor family looked like they were just where they belonged.

Lord Astor, Third Baron Astor of Hever, is in Astoria this weekend for the Astoria Bicentennial celebration.

“I am very proud of my American heritage,” Lord Astor said. “I think my ancestor played a little bit of a small role in opening up the West. The fur trappers were very important in opening up the West. And the farmers and the settlers followed right behind them. It’s very important because it’s the first time the American flag ever flew on the Pacific so I am really honored to be here.”

The city of Astoria hosted approximately 50 people at Fulio’s – owned by City Councilman Peter Roscoe – to honor the delegates of Walldorf, Germany and the Astors, including the Lord and Lady Liz Astor and their children Charles, 20, and Olivia, 18. Their cousin Jackie of New York was also present. Jackie’s grandfather was John Jacob Astor IV, who died aboard the Titanic.

“It’s a great honor to be back here on the 200th anniversary and meet all of the guys from Walldorf, as well,” Lord Astor said. “It’s an absolute honor to be back.

“I  feel very lucky to be an Astor. I’m rather grateful to my ancestor for making all of this money. Some of it percolated down to me and has enabled me to have a very good life. But I?think my family has always tried to think of other people, as well as ourselves, and I am very lucky to be an Astor.”

Lord Astor first came to Astoria in 1961 with his parents and grandparents – the then-Lord John Jacob Astor V and his son Gavin – for Astoria’s 150th birthday.

He came again in 1971 as a newlywed with his first wife, Fiona, at the age of 24.

His son, Charles, already feels the family pride, being in the town that makes his father very happy.

“I haven’t seen him smile this much in a while,” the younger Astor said with a laugh. 

“To be in Astoria has been amazing. You guys have given us such a warm welcome. It’s been a really happy event.”

Charles said he has taken an interest in the family history and hopes to one day follow in his father’s footsteps into politics.

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