Prince William's trip to the Far East

Prince Charles with Duke of Cambridge Image copyright Getty Images

The drafters of the news release about Prince William's trip to Japan and China early next year did their best.

Of the 19 sentences it contains, three are devoted to Prince Charles and his connections with China.

But supporting heritage and cultural initiatives there isn't the same as setting foot on the mainland of a nation which is our 7th largest market for exports.

Some royal officials believe Charles' difficult relationship with China, and his friendship with the Dalai Lama, are issues that concern the media more and the Chinese less.

Given the past actions of the next king - he boycotted a banquet during a Chinese state visit - and Prince Philip's "slitty-eyed" comment when he was there in 1986, it's little wonder that royal visits to the country have to be navigated with care.

Prince William appears to possess both gaffe-free genes and friends who don't trouble the Chinese.