Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

Place mats and a chunk of ice, just presents that are always wanted

By Nuala McKeever

Published 25/12/2012

Loved, loved, loved the story of the Queen sitting in at a Cabinet meeting last week, the first monarch to do so in hundreds of years.

It was one of the final events of her diamond jubilee year and the occasion was marked by a few gifts. The first was from the Foreign Office. It was a small little trinket, under the tree in William Hague's office. "It's nothing, really Ma'am," I imagine he muttered shyly as he handed her a piece of Antarctica with her name on it. "Ooh!," I hope she squealed, delightedly, "That's why Royal Mums don't go to Iceland! We've got Antarctica! Take that Kerry Katona!" "Eh, actually, her ex was in Westlife Ma'am," murmurs one of her aides, missing the joke entirely.

But the best bit was the Cabinet's gift. They "had a whip round" apparently and gave her ... wait for it ... 60 place mats. Place mats?!?! Could you imagine? Sixty bloomin' years of smiling even when her bunions were killing her and all they can manage is a set of place mats! And most of them millionaires! She can't even do a sneaky and have the mats wrapped up in sets of six and re-gifted to her weans as Christmas presents, 'cos they'll have seen her getting them on the news. Bummer.

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