The Queen was met by Prime Minister David Cameron outside 10 Downing Street as she arrived to attend a Cabinet meeting in what is believed to be the first such visit since the reign of Queen Victoria.
Mr Cameron said Downing Street had been researching the last monarch to visit the Cabinet.
George VI had met with the Cabinet during the Second World War, he said, but added:
We think the last time a monarch came to the Cabinet was in 1781, during the American War of Independence. But I'm happy to report that relations have improved slightly since then.
ITV News's Royal Correspondent Tim Ewart reports on the latest historic monarch visit:
After his initial remarks, the Prime Minister said they would get on with a "proper Cabinet agenda" starting with an update on parliamentary business by the Chief Whip, Sir George Young.
After being welcomed by the Prime Minister the rest of the Cabinet were introduced to the Queen before she sat next to Mr Cameron during the first part of the regular weekly meeting.
The Cabinet presented the Queen with 60 table mats according to Number 10, each with a picture of Buckingham Palace chosen from the Royal library at Windsor
Cabinet ministers also gave a donation to Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust
Buckingham Palace actually suggested the tablemats as a gift idea.
Her Majesty spoke twice at Cabinet. Once to wish ministers Happy Christmas. Once to ask for the next Queen's Speech to be shorter rather than longer
After her visit to Number 10 the Queen made her way across Downing Street to the Foreign Office where she unveiled a plaque.