His father once quipped that China’s leaders were “appalling old waxworks”, while his grandfather was overheard telling British students in China that “if you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty-eyed”.
So let’s hope that the Duke of Cambridge is a little more diplomatic in the first royal tour to Beijing since 1986.
Prince William will visit in February to promote “people-to-people links” and support wildlife engagement. (Of course, his grandfather once told a World Wildlife Fund meeting: “If it has four legs and it’s not a chair… the Cantonese will eat it.”)
The Chinese embassy in London was said to want the Duchess of Cambridge to visit too, although her pregnancy is likely to rule her out. Prince George, who turned one in July, is also expected to stay at home.
Parts of the Chinese media have described the Duke as “the best ambassador to improve the Sino-British relationship”, but the British press is reporting that the royal couple doesn’t have a massive fan club in China. A correspondent from the Telegraph described how almost nobody in a busy Beijing park could identify the Duke and Duchess from their photo, for instance.
“Are they the actor and actress from Titanic?” asked one young man, hopefully.
On weibo, few of the threads about the Duke’s visit managed to generate many comments. Most of those who did contribute were disappointed that Kate and Prince George won’t make the trip themselves. “It is uninteresting if his wife and son aren’t coming,” one wrote. “Most fans are following the little prince only,” said another.
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