The Prince of Wales is opting not to attend next week’s State Banquet honouring Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Clarence House did not provide any reason as to why Prince Charles will not attend besides the following: “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.” The various engagements both Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend were listed.
As reported by Royal Central on Wednesday, Charles and Camilla will greet President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. They will then travel to Horse Guards Parade, where the President will receive the official Ceremonial welcome.
Charles has not been silent in the past about China especially with his support for Tibet and The Dalai Lama, who is a friend of the royal.
In 2008, Charles and his wife welcomed His Holiness The Dalai Lama to Clarence House. During the visit exiled spiritual leader planted a magnolia sapling.
The Prince of Wales got himself into a bit of a public relations kerfuffle during the Hong Kong handover ceremony in 1997. In his diary entry, leaked to The Daily Mail, Charles noted the Chinese officials were “appalling old waxworks” and described one ceremony as an “awful Soviet-style” performance.
Prince Charles has ignored the Chinese in the past. He did not attend the 1999 banquet given at the Chinese Embassy in London honouring Her Majesty.
Adamant in his beliefs, he boycotted the dinner in 2005 during the visit by President Hu Jintao and in 2008 did not make the trip to Beijing to attend the Summer Olympic Games.
Comments regarding Charles, not attending are varied on social media. Many, including myself, agree, he is in his right to take a stand for what he believes in, even if it means not attending the white tie and tiara event at Buckingham Palace. When he becomes king, such opportunities will be fewer and far between.
Photo Credit: European Parliament via Flickr