Queen says Chinese officials were ‘very rude’ during state visit
Queen overheard telling police commander about Chinese premier Xi Jinping’s visit
While talk of a “Golden Era” of Sino-British relations have made headlines in recent months, unguarded comments by Queen Elizabeth during a Buckingham Palace garden party show how relationships remain less than warm, despite enormous efforts to boost trade.
The Queen was seen on camera saying Chinese officials were “very rude” during last year’s state visit by President Xi Jinping.
Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan travelled to Britain in October 2015 and the visit was hailed as a milestone in Sino-British relations, cementing a “Golden Age” between the UK and China.
However, since then relations have been strained by the furore over China’s suspected abduction of a British bookseller from Hong Kong and its programme of building islands in disputed territories in the South China Sea.
The remarks were a reminder of Prince Charles’ comments during the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 about how the Communist party’s elderly leaders were a “group of appalling old waxworks”.
When introduced to Metropolitan Police Commander Lucy D’Orsi, who coordinated security during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Britain in October last year, the British head of state is heard to say: “Oh, bad luck.”
The conversation continued with the Queen being told that Ms D’Orsi had been “seriously, seriously undermined by the Chinese, but she managed to hold her own and remain in command”.
Ms D’Orsi told the Queen: “It was at the point they walked out of Lancaster House and told me that the trip was off, that I felt..,” to which the Queen said: “They were very rude to the ambassador.”
The Queen then described behaviour by Chinese officials towards British diplomats including Ambassador Barbara Woodward as “extraordinary”.
Commander D’Orsi replied: “They were... it was very rude and undiplomatic I thought.”
There has been no official reaction from China and online reactions are also muted.
The last reference to the British royal family was a story on the Xinhua news agency saying how visitors to the Palace of Westminster would be given a rare opportunity to follow the footsteps of the Queen of Britain.