In Depth

Queen caught criticising 'rude' Chinese officials

Footage unlikely to help advance the much-vaunted 'golden age' of UK-China relations

The Queen has been caught on camera accusing Chinese officials of being "very rude" to British ambassador Barbara Woodward during President Xi Jinping's state visit to Britain last year.

The monarch was chatting to Metropolitan Police commander Lucy D'Orsi at a garden party at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.

D'Orsi was introduced as the officer in charge of security for the visit, to which the Queen replied: "Oh, bad luck."

She added: "They were very rude to the ambassador."

D'Orsi described the visit as "quite a testing time" and claimed Chinese officials had at one point "walked out" on both her and Woodward, telling them "the trip was off".

"Extraordinary," said the Queen. D'Orsi concluded: "It's very rude and very undiplomatic, I thought."

Buckingham Palace has insisted the state visit, which was part of the government's policy of courting Chinese investment, was "extremely successful". Although it would not comment on the Queen's private conversations, it said all parties had worked closely to ensure the visit had "proceeded smoothly".

According to the BBC, there has been no official reaction from the Chinese authorities, but coverage of the Queen's comments have been censored, with BBC World TV blanked out during a report on the conversation.

The footage is "unlikely to help advance the much-vaunted 'golden age' of UK-China relations that Xi's state visit was supposed to help launch", says The Guardian.

However, the newspaper points out that the Queen's comments are "less incendiary" than those once made by the Prince of Wales when describing the Communist Party's leaders as a "group of appalling old waxworks".

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister David Cameron was overheard telling the Queen that Nigeria and Afghanistan were "fantastically corrupt" as he discussed this week's anti-corruption summit in London.

"We've got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain," he said. "Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world."

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who was standing with Cameron and the Queen at the time, interrupted to defend Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari. "But this particular president is not corrupt," he said. "He's trying very hard."

Buhari, who was elected last year on an anti-corruption platform, said he was "shocked" by the comments, while a senior Afghan official said the characterisation was "unfair".

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