Twenty mad scientists and their support staff celebrated the Queen's Golden Jubilee with a feast of roast turkey and seasonal vegetables – in pitch darkness on the South Pole.

The festivities took place on the same day Londoners toasted Her Maj in the blazing sunshine with cold champagne and fresh strawberries, before being ferried home on all night tube trains.

But the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) had to make do with husky-drawn sleds, and the nearest the boffins got to scorching was when they lit the Jubilee beacon in the middle of the night, in order to coincide with Liz lighting up at 2245 GMT on The Mall.

The sub-zero temperatures meant the team chef, from Cambridge, had to order staff to munch their vegetables at record pace, for fear the produce would freeze and give them deadly frostbite of the throat.

'By the time my carrots hit the plate, they were beginning to turn into of orange icicles,' said one royalist adventurer. 'And I had to sit on my asparagus to defrost it.' In spite of the less than ideal conditions for a knees-up, the event gave some people a chance to set the record straight.

One male member of research staff, who was into trainspotting and stamp collecting at school and never had much luck with the fairer sex, said: 'After years of being a social outcast, I would like to remind those who made my life a misery that I have just been to the coolest party in the world.'