The rehabilitation of Prince Harry continues apace, with the judicious leaking of the news that the randy royal is expected to make a diplomatic trip to China next year, in an attempt to heal the Royal's troubled relations with the country.
Relations between the Chinese and Prince Charles have been strained since his diary entry relating to the handover of Hong Kong in 1997 caused a diplomatic storm when it was leaked in 2005, revealing that he had privately referred to Chinese leaders as “appalling old waxworks”.
The 1986 royal tour was overshadowed by comments made by Prince Philip, who was overheard describing Beijing as “ghastly” and who caused widespread offence during a meeting with a group of British exchange students living in the city of Xian, where he told them: “If you stay here much longer you’ll all be slitty–eyed.”
The Daily Telegraph is reporting that the Prince has been asked by the Foreign Office to visit China following his four-month deployment to Afghanistan, which began last week.
Harry’s father, Charles, has never visited China, and regularly receives the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibet and sworn enemy of the Chinese, in London, most recently in June this year.
The Foreign Office is keen to capitalise on Prince’s Harry’s surprising success as an international ambassador following his tour earlier this year to, most memorably, Jamaica, and is also believed to have held discussions with St James’s Palace about potential visits to Russia and India.
A ‘royal aide’ told the paper: “There is nothing fixed in Prince Harry’s diary for next year beyond his post-operational leave, but there are a number of foreign tours, including China, that have been mooted by the Foreign Office.
“A bit like with Prince Harry going to Brazil, senior members of the royal family see their role as supporting British interests overseas. Next year, first and foremost, he will remain with the Army Air Corps, so anything else he does will be factored around that.”
Sixty years and hardly a slip.