Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Etiquette and Li Hongzhang

Li Hongzhang was the leading Chinese diplomat of the late Qing era and 19th century. The article below describes his meeting Queen Victoria.

She was, in fact, every inch a Queen. Never under any circumstances did she permit any relaxation of the rigid etiquette of the Court, not even to the changing of a feather in the headdress of a Debutante of the highest rank and the bluest of blue blood; not even to the changing of a button on the uniform of the Prince of Wales, her son, and heir to her throne. Her experience of Orientals and their ceremonies saved her from even making the slightest lapsus in dealing with them. 

During Li Hongzhang's tour through Europe, he was received with courteous empressement by the other rulers whose Courts he visited. Each and all made the gross mistake of shaking hands with him and treating him almost as an equal. When the Viceroy was ushered into Victoria's presence chamber she remained seated, wrapped in the Imperial dignity that has awed mightier men than he. The intelligent celestial grasped his position at once. He groveled to the British Empress-Queen as he would have to his master, or the Dowager Empress, and when the interview was over and he had bowed himself out backward, he, deeply impressed, remarked to his entourage: "Her Majesty is the only real Monarch of them all." — Los Angeles Herald, 1901

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia