Prince Charles to miss State banquet with Chinese president at Buckingham Palace
October 16, 2017

By Gordon Rayner

The Telegraph, October 14, 2017 – The Prince of Wales will miss next week’s State banquet in honour of the Chinese president in an apparent snub to the country’s Communist leaders.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed that while the Prince will meet President Xi Jinping several times during the course of the State visit, he will be absent from the centrepiece white tie event at Buckingham Palace hosted by the Queen.

The Prince has had a troubled relationship with China for decades, partly because of his support for the disputed territory of Tibet, whose spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, he counts as a personal friend.

The Prince famously described Communist Party leaders as “appalling old waxworks” in a journal circulated to his friends when he attended the Hong Kong handover ceremony in 1997, and has never been to China.

In contrast his son, the Duke of Cambridge, made a highly successful official visit to China earlier this year, and will be at the State banquet along with the Duchess of Cambridge.

It is not the first time the Prince of Wales has snubbed the Chinese. In 1999 he was absent from a banquet held at the Chinese Embassy in London in honour of the Queen, then in 2005 he boycotted the official banquet during the last State visit by a Chinese leader. In 2008 he refused to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing.

However Clarence House was anxious to make clear that the Prince will attend several other events during the State visit, which begins on Tuesday, October 20.

He will greet the Chinese delegation at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London on Tuesday morning and will attend a formal welcome on Horse Guards Parade and a luncheon later that day, as well as entertaining President Xi for tea at Clarence House in the afternoon.

Sources have indicated he will then travel to Scotland, and the Duke of York will attend four engagements with President Xi on Wednesday and Thursday.

President Xi and his wife Madame Peng Liyuan will stay at Buckingham Palace during their visit.

Clarence House declined to provide any explanation for why the Prince will be unable to attend the banquet.

A statement from Clarence House said: “The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall have significant involvement in the State Visit by The President of The People’s Republic of China,” before listing the engagements he will carry out.