Posted at 10:51 AM ET, 06/27/2012

Big Ben’s tower to be renamed after Queen Elizabeth

The Twitterati have already dubbed it Big Betty and Large Liz.

The clock tower housing Big Ben will be renamed the Elizabeth Tower, a parliamentary official confirmed on Tuesday.

The world famous neo-gothic tower that is often used as a symbol for Britain and London is being renamed in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne and follows a campaign by British lawmakers that received backing from the leaders of all three major parties, including Prime Minister David Cameron.
Flags are seen above a souvenir kiosk near Big Ben clock at the Houses of Parliament in central London. (Paul Hackett - Reuters)

But a poll last month found that the public wasn’t as taken with the idea of changing the name of the famous landmark — often used alongside red phone booths and black taxi cabs as a symbol for Britain — with 44 percent opposing the name change and 30 percent supporting it.

“The House of Commons Commission welcomed the proposal to rename the Clock Tower Elizabeth Tower in recognition of HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and will arrange for this decision to be implemented in an appropriate manner in due course,” a House of Commons spokesman said.

The east tower of Westminster is actually called the Clock Tower, although many people incorrectly refer to it as Big Ben, the nickname given to the 13-ton bell housed within the tower.

British politicians have something of a penchant for renaming towers after monarchs. In 1860, the west tower of Westminster was renamed the Victoria Tower after Queen Victoria, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

The reaction has been mixed on Twitter, where a parody account called “Big Ben is Angry” was quickly up and running:

Others suggested the queen’s work doesn’t merit its own landmark:

It’s unclear if the new name will catch on, or if people will continue to refer to the tower as Big Ben.

Olga Khazan contributed to this report.

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By  |  10:51 AM ET, 06/27/2012

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