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'Very rude' Chinese play down Queen's comment

By Laura Elston

Published 12/05/2016

The Queen with Barbara Woodward
The Queen with Barbara Woodward
The Queen greeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at Buckingham Palace in October

The Queen may have branded Chinese officials "very rude" during last year's State visit, but the republic's embassy was a shining example of diplomacy yesterday.

The monarch was overheard making the comments at a Buckingham Palace garden party during a chat with a Metropolitan Police commander about the difficulties of organising the stay in October by President Xi Jinping.

The Queen quipped "bad luck" when she heard Lucy D'Orsi was assigned to be commander of the police operation around the world leader's trip to the UK.

But yesterday a spokeswoman from the Chinese Embassy in the UK branded the visit a success.

"President Xi Jinping's State visit to the UK last year was very successful," she said. "Both sides made great efforts towards the success of the visit."

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond admitted the visit "got a bit stressful on both sides". Speaking in Gibraltar, he added: "Big State visits are challenges. It was a great visit, and our relationship with China is very strong."

Her Majesty's comments were captured by a Palace cameraman after Prime Minister David Cameron was filmed describing Afghanistan and Nigeria as "fantastically corrupt".

When the Queen's remarks were reported on BBC World, it was blacked out in China.

Footage showed the Queen being introduced to Ms D'Orsi by Earl Peel, Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household. When Lord Peel said Ms D'Orsi had been made commander for the operation, the Queen said: "Bad luck."

Lord Peel continued to tell the Queen the officer had been "seriously undermined by the Chinese" in their handling of the visit, but added that she had managed to "hold her own".

As Ms D'Orsi asked if she knew it had been a "testing time", the Queen interjected: "I did."

The officer described how Chinese officials walked out of a meeting at Lancaster House with Barbara Woodward, British ambassador to China, telling them the trip was off. The Queen said: "They were very rude."

A Palace spokeswoman said: "We do not comment on the Queen's conversations. However, the state visit was extremely successful and all parties worked to ensure it proceeded smoothly."

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