UK & World News
Queen At Downing Street For Cabinet Meeting
The Queen has become the first monarch since the 18th century to attend Cabinet on a special visit to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
The monarch was met by Prime Minister David Cameron on the steps of Number 10, which had been covered with a red carpet for the occasion.
She wore a deep blue coat and matching dress by Stuart Parvin - immediately dubbed "Thatcheresque" by commentators.
The Queen made the trip without Prince Philip to collect a present bought by the Secretaries of State to mark her 60-year reign.
Cabinet members clubbed together to buy her a set of 60 placemats - one for each year she has spent on the throne.
The mats, which are bespoke and show traditional images of Buckingham Palace, were suggested by the Queen's own aides and made by a Gloucestershire company called Lady Clare Limited.
Officials refused to disclose the value of the gifts. An unspecified donation was also made to the Diamond Jubilee Trust.
Ministers lined up to shake hands with the monarch before they all went into the final Cabinet of the year.
The Queen took her chance during the meet-and-greet to quiz George Osborne about Britain's gold reserves.
She then sat between Mr Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague for her half-hour stint at the famous Cabinet table.
The Queen is thought to be the first monarch to attend Cabinet since George III in 1781, despite earlier claims Queen Victoria did so.
She only stayed for the first section before leaving ministers to their discussions and moving on to the Foreign Office.
During the meeting, Mr Cameron offered her a "very warm welcome" and congratulated her "on a fantastic jubilee year".
He said Downing Street had researched the last monarch to visit Cabinet and believe it dates back to the 18th century.
George VI, the Queen's father, met Cabinet during World War II, but apparently did not go to the standard meeting.
"We think the last time a monarch came to the Cabinet was in 1781, during the American War of Independence, but I'm happy to report that relations have improved slightly since then," Mr Cameron said.
The Queen joked "gently and humorously" that the Cabinet could make the next Queen's Speech on "the shorter rather than the longer side".
The only other moment she spoke was to wish ministers "happy Christmas" as she left.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said all Cabinet ministers had ensured their shoes were "shiny, freshly polished" for the special visit.
"The Queen seemed very relaxed, in a very good mood and took an enormous interest in the Cabinet discussion," he revealed.
"I think people were perhaps more considered in what they say, but nevertheless it was a proper discussion on the general economic situation and the inflation figures and Afghanistan."
He dismissed warnings from some quarters that the Queen was crossing a constitutional line by attending the Cabinet.
"We are her Cabinet, we operate for her. She was sat in the seat where the Prime Minister traditionally sits and, given it's her Cabinet, she can come any time she wants," he said.
Sky's royal commentator Alastair Bruce said: "It is significant because in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year it puts a focus on what headship of the state is all about and that is supervising the democratic process."
The Foreign Office has also announced that the southern part of British Antarctic Territory is to be named "Queen Elizabeth Land" to mark the jubilee.
The region is a barren, landlocked ice and snow-covered area uninhabited by people and virtually devoid of animal life.
what do you think?
Well done Your Majesty, now lay it on thick for those fools about what you want to see !! 1. The amount paid to Europe cut to zero. 2. No cash benefits paid to immigrants untill the have paid in 3years contributuions 3. No cash given as overseas aid, british produced goods only.
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Yes, Yes, Yes and a lot more of it
'Well done, your Majesty'? Awk, pass the sick bucket. What a forelock - tugger.
It made you honk up ? what more could I ask for. ?
Not so much 'honk' as flesh crawl.
Oliver Cromwell will be turning in his grave. . . Oh that's right! He hasn't got a grave since his corpse was dissintered and ripped apart by vengefull royalists in 1660. . . Oh well, that's what you get for being a regicidal dog murderer. Enjoy oliver!
how can the queen let this happen to people kids starving in the uk today. shame on here
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Wonder if anyones told her we now have soup kitchens in the UK for the starving - Camerons legacy
I expect she, or at least some members of her family, have visited quite a few quietly and without fuss. Don't doubt htat the royal family have a very keen knowledge of what goes in this country and care deeply. Let the thumbs down begin..
Kids are going hungry but, wait a minute, here's the queen, aw, that'll make them feel SO much better. 'Gawd bless ya, mum.' No, Johnny, don't throw up until she's gone.
I assume that Chris Robinson will not be eating a delicious Christmas meal as he will be giving his to the poor? Well done Chris and please give the poor the chips from both your shoulders. We are all extremely lucky to have what we have when others have so little but your hatred for the more prosperous is really sickening. Weve heard it so many times.
What a ridiculous statement, Gillie. How can one person on a less than adequate wage help the thousands that are poor? That requires a total change of how we run society which means we start taking more off the wealthy and redistributing it to those who need it. Why does one person have millions they'll never live long enough to spend while millions of people live sub standard lives? You think that's okay, do you? It's not enough to say we are so lucky, be grateful etc. What's more obscene than listening to people suck up to multi-millionaires while children go hungry and tell us to 'be grateful'?
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She wants to supervise her leaders a lot harder and give a few boots up the back sides plus point out she is also a pensioner same as the people Cameron is robbing all the time How embarrasing for Slick snide Cameron to choose those words in welcome. Has he got nothing real to say to her like - I've nearly knacked it up now havent I? or "bet you regret the day when you asked me to form a government"?
She is top of the league for waving, johnny foreigner is in awe of her waving skills, we miserable peasants are truly blessed to be ruled by these demi-gods on earth. Marvel as the the life giving rays of the sun emanate from the royal fundaments.
" Truly blessed " your own words. You are ruled by a benign blameless woman, who only draws enough to cover " some " of her expences. Not an incompetent twerp like little Johnnie Major or an arrogant greedy egotist like Big Tony.
Let us tug our forelocks in thanks Edgar.
The Queen will do down there what she always has done while this pathetic government runs our country into the ground......NOTHING
It's difficult when your hands are tied!!!
Our consitutional monarchy prevents her from actually doing anything. She can observe and warn but not tell the elected government of the day what to do. Rather than critictise the Quenn, have a go at the millons who couldn't be bothered to vote and who therefore got us into this mess.
She's amongst her own kind. She's probably the wealthiest woman in the world and never did a day's work to earn it. Time to get rid of the monarchy AND the capitalists.
The richest woman in the world Gina Rhinehart of Australia.
Did say 'probably', but she and her monarchy and her capitalists should go. They sponge off the rest of us.
Chris maybe you should consider that the Royals are the thing that we are envied most for they are the ultimate in advertising and earn more than they cost
Chris.What do you propose we should have in her place,a president Blair.God help us all if that is the case.
Royalist apologia. 'She's good for tourism' yeah, yeah. do you think people would stay away if there was no Royal Family? I think not. If you seriously think she is the ONE thing the world envies us for we're in serious trouble. If she 'earns' so much, why do we pay the civil list to this bunch of scroungers? John, you are several months behind. Just because I'm a socialist does NOT mean I support the pale pink Tory Party (New Labour). Please don't delude yourself into thinking New Labour (or even old Labour) is/were ever socialist. Why do you feel the need for a monarch? It's childish. Or any ONE person to be 'head of state'? I would prefer someone who is democratically accountable and who is not fabulously wealthy.
Try liveing in usa if you wish for a republic
We can bring a republic here, no need to move.
I should imagine visiting Downing st. is like going through the sewers in a glass bottomed boat
hope shes giving up some of her benefits to help the country out.somehow doubt it,another sponger for us to fund along with her offspring
Shame she has lost the power to stick em all in the Tower or get directly involved in politics though I did see she had Osbourne over the sale of our gold reserves
'She had Osbourne over the sale of our gold reserves' - very effective. Must have so hurt her investment portfolio.
And I bet those creeps inside won't make her leave through the side gate
Meet the foc*kers eh?Ha! I hope the cabinet are paying for the gift and they're not charging it up on their expenses...
well they had a whip round for it. Whether they try to claim on xpenses or deduct it from tax is up to them.
Can someone tell me what is happening with iceland paying off its debt to us.