Queen Elizabeth Becomes the First Monarch in 231 Years to Attend a Cabinet Meeting
Queen Elizabeth attended a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, as part of her Jubilee celebrations. The visit was a historic one for, as David Cameron revealed, it marked the first time the Head of State attended such a meeting in over 230; the last British Monarch to be present at a peace-time cabinet meeting was George III in 1781, although the Queen’s father, George VI, attended a war cabinet during World War II.
Prime Minister David Cameron greeted the Queen at the door of Number 10, posing for photos before going inside. The Queen was then introduced to each of the government’s senior ministers in turn. After waiting for the Queen to take her seat, the Cabinet followed suit and David Cameron offered her a warm welcome: “On behalf of everyone, I would like to congratulate you on a fantastic jubilee year.” Her Majesty sat in David Cameron’s usual seat, with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary at either side of her.
Once, the Monarch used to chair cabinet meetings; however, George I ceased the practice in 1717. Over the centuries, the Sovereign’s role grew more and more apolitical. As the British Monarchy’s official website states: “As Head of State The Queen has to remain strictly neutral with respect to political matters, unable to vote or stand for election”.
Today’s visit is meant to conclude the year-long celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and was also a chance for her Ministers to present her with a gift they had personally chose and paid for. Their gift was a meaningful one – 60 placemats (one for each year of her reign) featuring a series of elaborate paintings. The idea of placemats was suggested by the Palace and includes pictures of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. The second, and rather more remarkable honour was the announcement a southern part of Antarctica will be renamed Queen Elizabeth Land.
Tagged Elizabeth II, Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, Government, Prime Minister Cameron.