Prince Charles to miss state banquet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, fuelling speculation of boycott

Matt Dathan
Online political reporter
Tuesday 20 October 2015 11:05
comments
Prince Charles is friends with exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama
Prince Charles is friends with exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama

Prince Charles will miss the state banquet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, triggering speculation that he has chosen to boycott the event at Buckingham Palace because of his support for the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama.

Clarence House has refused to give an official reason for his absence but pointed to his “significant involvement” during President Xi’s four-day state visit.

The Prince, a friend of the exiled Tibetan leader and Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, will host the President at a separate private meeting at Clarence House, where he is expected to raise concerns over China’s human rights record.

The absence of the Prince of Wales at Tuesday’s banquet is the latest in a string of snubs to the Chinese.

He boycotted the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Beijing due to his support for Tibet and did not attend the last state banquet laid on for a Chinese President when former leader Hu Jintao visited in 2005.

Likewise in 1999, he did not turn up to a state banquet, in what his former aide Mark Bolland later described as a “deliberate snub”.

And after the handover of Hong Kong to Beijing in 1997 the Prince wrote in a journal that China’s leaders were “appalling old waxworks”.

The Dalai Lama, who has said he and Prince Charles are the “best of friends”, is seen as a separatist threat by China and relations between the UK and Beijing thawed after David Cameron met the spiritual leader, with the Chinese cancelling diplomatic meetings between the two countries.

However, in a sign that Prince Charles is readying himself to take the throne and paving the way for a more amicable relationship with the Chinese, which he would inevitably have to pursue when he becomes Head of State, he notably did not meet with the Dalai Lama when he visited the UK earlier this year.

This has facilitated the meeting with President Xi this week.

President Xi began his visit by meeting the Prince of Wales at the Royal Mandarin Hotel on Tuesday morning.

He will be given a ceremonial welcome by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Horse Guards Parade, address both Houses of Parliament and will then give a stage carriage procession to Buckingham Palace as the UK rolls out the carpet and gives an unprecedented welcome for a head of state.

Prince Charles will miss the state banquet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, triggering speculation that he has chosen to boycott the event at Buckhingham Palace because of his support for the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama.

Clarence House has refused to give an official reason for his absence but pointed to his “significant involvement” during President Xi’s four-day state visit.

The Prince, a friend of the exiled Tibetan leader and Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, will host the President at a separate private meeting at Clarence House, where he is expected to raise concerns over China’s human rights record.

The absence of the Prince of Wales at Tuesday’s banquet is the latest in a string of snubs to the Chinese.

He boycotted the 2008 Beijing Olympics in Beijing due to his support for Tibet and did not attend the last state banquet laid on for a Chinese President when former leader Hu Jintao visited in 2005.

Likewise in 1999, he did not turn up to a state banquet, in what his former aide Mark Bolland later described as a “deliberate snub”.

And after the handover of Hong Kong to Beijing in 1997 the Prince wrote in a journal that China’s leaders were “appalling old waxworks”.

The Dalai Lama, who has said he and Prince Charles are the “best of friends”, is seen as a separatist threat by China and relations between the UK and Beijing thawed after David Cameron met the spiritual leader, with the Chinese cancelling diplomatic meetings between the two countries.

However, in a sign that Prince Charles is readying himself to take the thrown and paving the way for a more amicable relationship with the Chinese, which he would inevitably have to pursue when he becomes Head of State, he notably did not meet with the Dalai Lama when he visited the UK earlier this year.

This has facilitated the meeting with President Xi this week.

President Xi began his visit by meeting the Prince of Wales at the Royal Mandarin Hotel on Tuesday morning.

He will be given a ceremonial welcome by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Horse Guards Parade, address both Houses of Parliament and will then give a stage carriage procession to Buckingham Palace as the UK rolls out the carpet and gives an unprecedented welcome for a head of state.

Royal sources told the Daily Express that he was missing the banquet to rest ahead of a busy autumn schedule.

He is due to travel to Australia, New Zealand and Malta after already visting Qatar, Ireland, the USA and Turkey this year as he takes on more of his mother’s official engagements.

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