AS I WRITE, the pomp and ceremony of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s State Visit is in full swing, and offers no small reminder of the Queen’s enormous role in global diplomatic relations.
The Queen formally welcomed the Chinese visitors with a full display of pageantry on Horse Guards Parade and accompanied the President in a gold carriage escorted by the Household Cavalry up The Mall, which was a mass of red and gold flags and banners. The heads of state exchanged gifts, with the Queen presenting the President with a hand-tooled edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The Chinese President gave her two CDs of music by his wife, celebrated folk singer Peng Liyuan. In her remarks, the Queen spoke of the UK-Chinese “global partnership” but also alluded to shared burdens as Permanent Members on the UN Security Council, where “we have a responsibility to cooperate on these issues which have a direct bearing on the security and prosperity of all our peoples.”
Agreements are being signed heralding a rumoured £30 billion of new business deals between China and the UK. The state visit will provide a platform for the UK and China to develop a strategic framework for dealing with the opportunities and challenges facing both countries in a world where power is shifting, but in which economic uncertainty remains. The Queen’s essential role in the process is undeniable, and as the longest-reigning monarch in British history, it is this that we celebrate in this issue of Diplomat magazine.
As always, Diplomat reviews the Credentials of new heads of mission to the Court of St James’s, this month meeting with the Ambassadors of Ecuador, Romania and Uzbekistan.
In the lifestyle section, Diplomat enjoys a stay at Park Lane favourite the InterContinental, and revisits the newly named Cubitt House institution, The Alfred Tennyson. Readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice in our book and arts reviews, including information on ‘The Best of Patrick Litchfield’ exhibition, photographer extraordinaire and the Queen’s favourite cousin.