On a state visit to China, the Queen was taken round the famous Ming collection, the centrepiece of which is a huge vase, the rarest and most expensive piece of Ming in the world. She admired it, but as she turned to move on, accidentally knocked it off its pedestal. It hit the ground and smashed into a thousand pieces. Her host burst into a frenzy of shouted Chinese, clearly beside himself, pointing alternately at the pieces on the floor and at Her Majesty. During a lull while he paused in his ranting to get his breath, she placed her hand on his sleeve reassuringly and said: "I'm all right."
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