Did Queen Elizabeth drink Yunnan black tea?

Updated: Apr 22

In 1986, Queen Elizabeth II visited China for six days beginning October 12. The Queen made a stop in Kunming — an appearance remembered by every Spring City resident alive at the time, but today little-known outside of Yunnan.

The Queen and Prince Philip meet minority ethnic groups in Yunnan, China
The Queen and Prince Philip meet minority ethnic groups in Yunnan, China

On March 4, 2015, Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, came to Yunnan. This was the second visit to Yunnan by members of the Royal Family over 30 years since Queen Elizabeth II visited Yunnan in 1986. During the period, Premium Gongfu Yunnan black tea, a symbol of friendship between Yunnan and the UK, was given as a national gift by Prince William to the Queen. This is the second time the Queen has received Yunnan black tea after 1986.


The Queen received Yunnan black tea as a national gift from then provincial governor Zhiqiang He
The Queen received Yunnan black tea as a national gift from then provincial governor Zhiqiang He

In 1958, Premium Gongfu was auctioned at the highest price in London, England, and was determined by the State Council of China as the "Foreign Affairs Ceremony Tea". This was considered the highest level of domestic black tea at that time and is a best-selling product even in the current market. In December 2014, this ancient "Dianhong making technique" was included in the list of representative items of national intangible cultural heritage.


When Queen Elizabeth came to Yunnan in 1986, she focused on the plants of Yunnan, and a particular highlight of Prince William’s visit in 2015 was a focus on the animals of Yunnan. He reviewed elephant protection measures in Xishuangbanna.


Prince William delivered a speech in Yunnan calling for the protection of wild animals
Prince William delivered a speech in Yunnan calling for the protection of wild animals

At 5:50 pm on October 16, 1986, The Queen's private plane with the Royal Standards landed at the airport. The Queen and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, came to Kunming for the first time after visiting Beijing, Shanghai and Xi'an. According to data, more than 1,500 people wearing 24 ethnic minority groups’ costumes played cheerful folk music and waved bouquets and ribbons in their hands to welcome their arrival.


On the second day, the group visited the Western Hills Scenic Area. The Queen climbed to the Sanqing Pavilion in Western Hills, which she said it looked like a "tower in the sky", from there is a clear view of Lake Dian and a scenic view of Kunming, also known as Spring City. While she was there and enjoyed a cup of Yunnan Pu'er tea.


At noon, The Queen took the Longmen Yacht to visit Lake Dian and travelled to Daguan Park along the waterway. After disembarking, they walked along the stone bridge to the core area of Jinhuapu. In the flowerbeds, three roses specially brought from the Royal Botanical Gardens were planted.

The Queen and Prince Philip plant rose brought over from Britain
The Queen and Prince Philip plant rose brought over from Britain

After that, The Queen and her party visited an exhibition of the ethnic-cultural relics at the Yunnan Nationalities University and watched the ethnic minority inspired dance performed by the students. The Nationalities Institute presented The Queen with a set of Bai women's costumes and presented a Hulusi, a traditional ethnic wind instrument, to Prince Philip.


The Queen and Prince Philip talk with students from Yunnan Nationalities University
The Queen and Prince Philip talk with students from Yunnan Nationalities University

At the banquet that evening, The Queen delivered a speech: "The Prince and I had a very pleasant day. Yunnan has its characteristics, which is fascinating and unforgettable."


Drink like The Queen with our Classic Gongfu, which can be served with milk and sugar.

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