The Queen follows where Victoria led
On 20 June 1837, Cabinet ministers who had been called together for a meeting by the Prime Minister, Viscount Melbourne, were startled by the arrival of a dumpy, 18-year-old girl who wanted to sit and listen. It was Victoria, who had been woken early that morning to be told that her uncle William – William IV of England – was dead, and she was Queen. She turned up at the Cabinet “quite alone”. This was a surprise because her great, great grandfather, George I had all but given up going to Cabinet meetings because his first language was German and ministers had grown used to meeting in the King’s absence. Victoria turned up frequently.
But since her time – so far as Downing Street’s researchers can ascertain – no monarch has sat through a Cabinet meeting, until tomorrow, when the Queen arrives in Downing Street at 10am, for the Cabinet meeting that will start a quarter of an hour later. She will stay for half an hour, sitting between David Cameron and William Hague, in what promises to be a crowded room.
Every Cabinet minister has dipped into his or her pocket to buy her a present. Perhaps that is what David Cameron was thinking of when he let slip at Prime Minister’s Questions last week that “We are raising more money for the rich.”
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