Queen Elizabeth has been caught on camera saying Chinese officials were “very rude” during a state visit to Britain by President Xi Jinping that London had said would herald a “golden era” in relations with Beijing.
She was speaking at a garden party at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday, the same day that Prime Minister David Cameron was filmed making undiplomatic remarks to her about corruption in Nigeria and Afghanistan.
The queen’s remarks may not be helpful to the British government’s determined efforts to boost trade ties with China.
Under her constitutional role, the 90-year-old monarch never makes any politically or diplomatically sensitive comments in public, and it is rare for the content of her private conversations to be revealed.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Xi’s visit to Britain last year had been “extremely successful” and both countries’ officials had made great efforts to that end.
In footage broadcast by the BBC, the queen is seen meeting senior police officer Lucy D’Orsi, who is introduced by an official as having been in charge of security during Xi’s visit in October.
“Oh, bad luck,” the queen says in response.
D’Orsi then describes her dealings with Chinese officials as “quite a testing time” and recounts that at one point they had walked out of a meeting and told her “the trip was off”.
The queen says: “They were very rude to the ambassador.”
Lu said he had not heard anything about Xi’s visit possibly being called off at any point, adding that the visit had opened a new “golden age” in relations, brought about by both countries. (Courtesy Reuters)