BEIJING — British garden parties are not known as occasions for blunt talk, especially if they take place at Buckingham Palace.
But on Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II, clad in bright pink, had a frank exchange about China on her palace lawn with a Metropolitan Police commander, Lucy D’Orsi. They spoke of conflicts that unfolded in London in October when President Xi Jinping of China and his entourage made a state visit to Britain, and at one point, the queen referred to the visiting officials as “very rude.”
A transcript of that exchange is below.
First, before hundreds of onlookers, the queen, 90, was introduced to Ms. D’Orsi by the Lord Chamberlain, Earl Peel, who serves as head of the royal household.
Ms. D’Orsi spoke of an episode in which Chinese officials stormed out of a meeting with her and Barbara Woodward, a longtime diplomat and the British ambassador to China. She called it “a testing time.” The queen commented, “They were very rude to the ambassador.”
The remarks were included in a video of the party that an official cameraman recorded for the palace. The video was officially distributed to journalists and has been posted online.
The BBC reported that there had been no official reaction from the Chinese authorities, but that coverage had been censored, with BBC World TV blocked in China during its report of the conversation.
The British and Chinese governments have spoken of a new “golden era” of relations between the two countries. Mr. Xi’s state visit was supposed to symbolize the strengthening of ties, especially commercial ones. Mr. Xi posed for press photos with Prime Minister David Cameron at a pub in Buckinghamshire, England. The two men held pints of beer up to their lips.
In June 2014, Premier Li Keqiang met with the queen at Windsor Castle. The Times of London had reported earlier from Beijing that Mr. Li and fellow Chinese officials had threatened to cancel his three-day visit to Britain if he did not get an audience with the queen. “The Chinese are hard negotiators,” an unnamed British government source told the newspaper.
In 2005, Prince Charles sued The Mail on Sunday for publishing a private journal he had written eight years earlier that included candid remarks about Chinese leaders. He was writing about the British handover of Hong Kong to China, and he described senior Chinese officials accompanying President Jiang Zemin to the ceremony in 1997 as “appalling old waxworks.”
Here is the transcript of the conversation on Tuesday:
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.”