The Foreign Office declared that a tract of frozen land about twice the size of the UK was to be named Queen Elizabeth Land.
Note: This article is from the Guardian.
The Queen has become the first monarch since 1781 and American war of independence to attend cabinet, where she sat in on a full-length discussion of the political and military situation in Afghanistan and advised ministers that the Queen’s speech next year should be shorter rather than longer.
She otherwise remained silent apart from wishing the rest of the cabinet a merry Christmas on her departure.
On the advice of Buckingham Palace the cabinet clubbed together to give her 60 lacquered table mats showing images of the palace and its grounds taken from the Royal Archive. They also submitted a donation to her jubilee charity, but the prime minister’s spokesman refused to disclose the size of the donation.
In a further gift, the Foreign Office declared that a tract of frozen land about twice the size of the UK in Antarctica was to be named after her as Queen Elizabeth Land. The land in the British Antarctic Territory had been previously unnamed. The prime minister’s spokesman was unable to say whether it had any flowers, fauna or people.
The idea of asking the Queen to a meeting of the cabinet (video) had come from David Cameron as a way of celebrating her achievements in her jubilee year. She was given a lightning tour of Downing Street, being taken from the Terracotta room to the Pillared room and then, with the prime minister and the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, accompanying her, into the cabinet room itself where at least 30 politicians were waiting.
Cameron opened the session by saying it was the first time a monarch had attended a full cabinet since George III in 1781. He said Anglo-American relations had improved since then.
Previously Downing Street had briefed that she was the first monarch to attend cabinet since Queen Victoria, and there had been suggestions that George VI had also attended cabinet during the war, but it later emerged this was not a full cabinet meeting.
The Queen sat on Cameron’s left, between the prime minister and the foreign secretary, William Hague. The two politicians normally sit alongside each other. She listened to a discussion led by Hague and the defence secretary, Phillip Hammond, but said nothing except during a brief discussion of the Queen’s speech, at which point she ventured the opinion that it should be shorter rather than longer.
The communities secretary, Eric Pickles, said cabinet members had been on their best behaviour. "All the shoes were shiny, freshly polished, with the exception of Ken Clarke’s Hush Puppies," he said.
After leaving Downing Street, the Queen attended the Foreign Office to be told by Hague of the naming of Queen Elizabeth Land. He said: "This is a fitting tribute at the end of Her Majesty’s diamond jubilee year, and I am very proud to be able to announce it as she visits the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
"The British Antarctic Territory is a unique and important member of the network of 14 UK overseas territories. To be able to recognise the UK’s commitment to Antarctica with a permanent association with Her Majesty is a great honour".
The area to be known as Queen Elizabeth Land is around 169,000 square miles (437,000 sq km), making up just under a third of the land mass of the British Antarctic Territory. This is almost twice the size of the UK, which is 94,000 square miles (244,000 sq km).
Queen Elizabeth Land is bordered on its north side by the Ronne and Filchner ice shelves, to the north-east by Coats Land, on the east by Dronning Maud Land and extending on the west side to a line between the South Pole and Rutford Ice Stream, east of Constellation Inlet.
The Queen has been on the throne for 60 of the 104 years since the UK claimed territory in Antarctica in 1908. This includes the entire time it has been known as the British Antarctic Territory.
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