The normally reticent Queen Elizabeth II was caught gibing Chinese officials in a conversation with a senior police officer at a Buckingham Palace garden party on Tuesday.
The queen, dressed in bright pink, was having a chat about China with Metropolitan Police commander Lucy D’Orsi at her post-birthday event and the conversation was caught on tape by the royal’s own cameraman, Peter Wilkinson.
On hearing that D’Orsi was in charge of overseeing security during the October visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, the monarch replied, “Oh, bad luck.”
“I'm not sure whether you knew, but it was quite a testing time for me," D’Orsi was filmed saying to which the Queen replied that she did know, before adding that some members of the Chinese delegation "were very rude to the ambassador."
President Xi’s visit was supposed to symbolize the strengthening relations, especially commercial ones between China and Britain. Apparently, the effort didn’t raise them in the queen’s regard.
The embarrassing video had been officially distributed to reporters and has also been posted online.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson has issued a statement claiming they do not remark upon the queen’s private conversations, but “the Chinese state visit was extremely successful and all parties worked closely to ensure it proceeded smoothly.”
There has been no official response from the Chinese authorities over the queen’s words, but the coverage has been censored in China, with BBC World TV blocked in the country during its reports of the conversation.
The video emerged just a few hours after Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron was caught on hot mic, calling Nigeria and Afghanistan “possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.” Incidentally, the person who recorded this incident was also Wilkinson.
But this isn’t the first incident of a British royalty insulting foreign delegates.
In 2005, Prince Charles sued the Mail on Sunday for publishing frank remarks from a private journal he had written eight years ago. The journal entry was about the handover of Hong Kong and in it he described the Chinese communist officials and the then President Jiang Zemin as “appalling old waxworks.”