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Tuesday 18th December 2012 | 11:55
FCO press release
Her Majesty The Queen visited the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for the second time today, as the last official engagement of her Diamond Jubilee year. Her Majesty’s previous visit was in 1982 to mark the department’s bicentenary.
Following a tour of the building, Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that the southern part of the British Antarctic Territory had been named ‘Queen Elizabeth Land’ in honour of The Queen’s sixtieth year on the throne.
“As a mark of this country’s gratitude to the Queen for her service, we are naming a part of the British Antarctic Territory in her honour as ‘Queen Elizabeth Land’.
“This is a fitting tribute at the end of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee year, and I am very proud to be able to announce it as she visits the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
"The British Antarctic Territory is a unique and important member of the network of fourteen UK Overseas Territories. To be able to recognise the UK’s commitment to Antarctica with a permanent association with Her Majesty is a great honour.”
The area now to be known as Queen Elizabeth Land, which was previously unnamed, is around 169,000 square miles (437,000 sq km), making up just under a third of the whole land mass of the British Antarctic Territory. This is almost twice the size of the UK, which stands at 94,000 square miles (244,000 sq km).
Queen Elizabeth Land is bounded on the North side by the Ronne and Filchner ice shelves, to the North East by Coats Land, on the East by Dronning Maud Land and extending on the West side to a line between the South Pole and Rutford Ice Stream, east of Constellation Inlet.
Her Majesty The Queen has been on the throne for 60 of the 104 years since the UK claimed territory in Antarctica in 1908. This includes the entire time it has been known as the British Antarctic Territory.