For spending 60 years on the throne and for someone who has nearly everything, Queen Elizabeth was given a unique gift by the British government: a large chunk of Antarctica is now named after her.
The 169,000 square-mile piece of land was named after the queen while she attended a U.K. Cabinet meeting Tuesday.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the southern part of Britain’s Antarctic Territory was named Queen Elizabeth Land, to mark her diamond jubilee year. The area was previously unnamed and makes up a third of the whole landmass of Britain’s territory on the southern continent.
“From today, in your honor, it will be forever known as Queen Elizabeth Land,” Hague told the queen, according to a transcript of his speech.
The newly named landmass is nearly twice the size of the United Kingdom itself.
“The British Antarctic Territory is a unique and important member of the network of fourteen U.K. Overseas Territories. To be able to recognize the U.K.’s commitment to Antarctica with a permanent association with Her Majesty is a great honor,” Hague said in a statement.
The British Antarctic Territory was claimed by the U.K. in 1908 and was the first official claim on Antarctica before other countries including the United States and Australia made theirs.
There is no permanent population in the Antarctic territory. “British presence is maintained via three research stations operated by the British Antarctic Survey,” the Foreign Office said. “The Territory itself is self-financing, investing modest receipts from stamp sales and the income tax from overwintering British scientists in environmental projects.”
The U.K. also named a region in East Antarctica Princess Elizabeth Land after it was discovered in 1931—so it is not the first time that a piece of Antarctic land was named in the queen’s honor. In 2006, a previously unnamed mountain chain in Antarctica was called The Princess Royal Range to note her work in the environmental sector, according to the Foreign Office.
According to the BBC, the queen sat in Prime Minister David Cameron’s seat, while Cameron and Hague sat beside her. It was the first time a monarch has attended a peacetime Cabinet meeting since King George III in 1781. King George I stopped regularly attending the meetings in 1717.
Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, attended a Cabinet meeting during World War II.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles dismissed claims that the 86-year-old queen was overstepping her bounds by attending the meeting.
“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,” Pickles told the broadcaster.
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