CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 April 2019

Print Version    Email to Friend
Her Majesty is miffed

SYDNEY (SE): The queen of England, Elizabeth II, was picked up on camera and audio at a garden party on May 10 saying that the Chinese had been very rude to her ambassador.

The queen made her comment when her chief of state security, Lucy D’Orsi, told her a delegation preparing for the state visit of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, had walked out of a meeting with her ambassador in October last year.

Be it diplomatic tough stuff, protocol faux pas or just plain dollar muscle flexing, a Chinese delegation apparently did walk out of the meeting when their demands to have Chinese security carry guns and a seat for Xi’s bodyguard in the royal carriage were denied.

The queen was picked up on audio telling her metropolitan police commander that it was bad luck for her that she had copped this assignment.

Although D’Orsi was responsible for security and not the good manners of the queen’s guests, she was described as being seriously undermined by the incident. 

But the queen apparently has a short tolerance for what she deems the uncouth.

The former secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Australia, John Menadue, related that in 1974 in Kingston, Jamaica, the very same queen complained to him that the prime minister, Gough Whitlam, was rude about her family.

“Your prime minister was very nice to me and Prince Phillip, but he was very rude to other members of my family,” the queen complained.

Whitlam wanted to put a stop to state premiers inviting lesser royals to come to Australia on state visits, but had found himself, on several occasions, in a situation whereby he could not refuse. 

He had explained to the queen that as head of state, she, together with her royal consort were always welcome, but asked her to discourage other members of her extended family from coming.

Her majesty may have been miffed, but it has come out in the wash that about three years later the queen of the dominion did not tell her prime minister that she knew her governor general was conspiring to oust him as the leader of an elected government.

“Their (the queen, Prince Charles and the queen’s private secretary) failure to inform Whitlam, as Kerr (Australian governor general at the time) should have done, could only have given Kerr tacit comfort and confidence that the dismissal of the prime minister would not meet any royal resistance” (The Governor General, the Palace and the Dismissal of Gough Whitlam, Jenny Hocking).

The Chinese may well think walking out of a meeting is pretty tame stuff compared with not telling an elected leader of a government that there was a Guy Fawkes in his cellar about to light the fuse on a powder keg that would blow his administration off the map.

Whitlam may have thought it was a bit rude too, but he seems not to have mentioned it!

But he did say on hearing the proclamation, “Well may you say ‘God save the Queen,’ because nothing will save the governor general!”

More from this section