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Prime Minister David Cameron greets HM Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II makes historic visit to 10 Downing Street and sits with Prime Minister David Cameron at the UK government weekly cabinet meeting, 18 December, 2012.

Queen Elizabeth II makes historic visit to 10 Downing Street and sits with Prime Minister David Cameron at the UK government weekly cabinet meeting, 18 December, 2012.

The Queen at the cabinet

The Queen is the first monarch to attend the weekly meeting of government ministers since 1781

Queen Elizabeth II, celebrating the diamond jubilee of her reign, scripted history when she attended a cabinet meeting in 10 Downing Street, becoming the first British monarch since 1781 to do so. She met ministers, who presented her with a gift to mark her Diamond Jubilee after 60 years on the throne. It is the first time a monarch has attended peace-time cabinet since George III in 1781. The Queen’s father, King George VI, attended war cabinet during the Second World War.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II makes historic visit to 10 Downing Street. Here with Prime Minister David Cameron and members of the cabinet.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II makes historic visit to 10 Downing Street. Here with Prime Minister David Cameron and members of the cabinet.

HM Queen Elizabeth II makes historic visit to 10 Downing Street. Here with Prime Minister David Cameron and members of the cabinet.

HM Queen Elizabeth II makes historic visit to 10 Downing Street. Here with Prime Minister David Cameron and members of the cabinet, 18 December 2012.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “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.”

Rodney Barker, professor of government at the London School of Economics, said her attendance at the cabinet was “daft”, because “it will mean potentially the Queen will know things she is not supposed to know and hear things she is not supposed to hear”. But Professor Jane Ridley, biographer of Edward VII, disagreed, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today it was “testimony of the Queen’s ability to elevate the monarchy above politics” that she could attend cabinet. Former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell told BBC Radio 4: “I’m sure cabinet want to do this because they want to say thank you. I mean, I’ve always viewed the Queen as kind-of the ultimate public servant. You think what she’s done during her jubilee period and they just want to say thank you.” (Source BBC)

Part of Antarctica is to be named Queen Elizabeth Land in honour of the Queen, it was announced as she made a historic visit to Downing Street.