Photo: AP

Queen Elizabeth II was overheard Tuesday calling Chinese officials “very rude,” in a conversation with a police officer who’d been responsible for security during the state visit in October.

Commander Lucy D’Orsi told the queen that coordinating Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit had been a “testing time.”

“They were very rude to the ambassador,” the queen said.

Queen Elizabeth II rarely comments in public on political issues, the Associated Press observes. Media are generally asked not to intrude upon her private conversations; however, this video was recorded by an palace cameraman and has been officially released to journalists.


Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang evaded questions about the queen’s remarks, telling reporters that the president made a “very successful visit.”

“The working teams from both sides made huge efforts to make this possible. This effort has been highly recognized by both China and Britain,” Lu said.

Nevertheless, the AP reports, China has taken steps to suppress the queen’s comments, censoring them on the Internet and cutting the BBC signal when it reported on the story.

Via the New York Times, here is the transcript of Tuesday’s conversation (bolding ours):

Lord Chamberlain: “Can I present Commander Lucy D’Orsi, who was Gold Commander during the Chinese state visit…”

Queen Elizabeth: “Oh, bad luck.”

Lord Chamberlain: “… and who was seriously, seriously undermined by the Chinese, but she managed to hold her own and remain in command. And her mother, Judith, who’s involved in child protection and social work.”

Commander D’Orsi’s mother: “Yes, I’m very proud of my daughter.”

Lord Chamberlain: “You must tell your story.”

Commander D’Orsi: “Yes, I was the Gold Commander, so I’m not sure whether you knew, but it was quite a testing time for me.”

Queen: “Yes, I did.”

Commander D’Orsi: “It was, er, I think at the point that they walked out of Lancaster House and told me that the trip was off, I felt that…”

The Queen: “They were very rude to the ambassador.”

Commander D’Orsi: “They were. Well, she was, yes, Barbara, she was with me and they walked out on both of us.”

The Queen: “Extraordinary.”

Commander D’Orsi’s mother: “I know, it’s unbelievable.”

Commander D’Orsi: “It was very rude and very undiplomatic, I thought.”