Queen Elizabeth, David Cameron overheard: More on-mic slips by world leaders

Queen Elizabeth II speaking to British Prime Minister David Cameron during a reception at Buckingham Palace on May 10, 2016.
Queen Elizabeth II speaking to British Prime Minister David Cameron during a reception at Buckingham Palace on May 10, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Earlier this week, Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister David Cameron were reminded of making unguarded comments in public when their candid remarks were picked up by hot mics and made world headlines.

Mr Cameron's comments to the Queen that Nigeria and Afghanistan were "fantastically corrupt" and "possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world" generated controversy and prompted a riposte from Nigeria's presidential spokesman.

The Queen was not spared, as she was later caught in her own mic slip when she was heard telling a police commander that Chinese officials "were very rude" during China President Xi Jinping's state visit to Britain last year.

Here's a look at eight more diplomatic gaffes made by world leaders in recent times.

1. US President Barack Obama & former French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Mr Netanyahu at a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on April 10, 2016. 

A seemingly private exchange between Mr Obama and Mr Sarkozy at a G20 summit in 2011 was inadvertently broadcast to the media.

"I can't stand him. He's a liar," Mr Sarkozy had reportedly said of Mr Netanyahu.

Mr Obama's reply: "You're fed up with him? I have to deal with him every day."

2. Former British PM Gordon Brown on "bigoted" woman

Mr Cameron's predecessor was involved in a memorable on-mic blunder during Britain's 2010 general election, when he was confronted by pensioner Gillian Duffy in Rochdale.

Following a tirade by Ms Duffy criticising his Labour Party, Mr Brown then got into his car, where his live mic caught him complaining to advisers: "That was a disaster. They should never have put me with that woman...ridiculous...bigoted woman."

Mr Brown subsequently apologised and had a bouquet of flowers delivered to her house.

3. Former US President Ronald Reagan on Russia

Mr Reagan, who was president from 1981 to 1989, sparked confusion - and very nearly a diplomatic nightmare - while doing a sound check for his weekly radio address in 1984.

Known for cracking jokes before giving his speeches, he was recorded saying: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I have signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever.

"We begin bombing in five minutes."

4. Former French President Jacques Chirac on British food

Mr Chirac at the Francophone Summit in Hanoi in this Nov 14, 1997, file picture. PHOTO: REUTERS

In a bid to improve Paris' chances of hosting the 2012 Olympic Games, Mr Chirac attempted to bad-mouth Britain during a lunch meeting with Russian and German leaders, which included Russian President Vladimir Putin, in 2005.

"The only thing the British have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease," Mr Chirac said within earshot of reporters.

He then went on to add: "After Finland, it is the country with the worst food. One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad."

5. Former British PM John Major...on himself

Mr Major watching the 2016 London Marathon with his wife Norma on April 24. PHOTO: AFP

Mr Major did not exactly spark a nation's confidence when, during a television interview in 1993, he was recorded wondering aloud "how such a complete wimp like me keeps winning everything".

In that same interview, he also referred to three of his own Cabinet ministers as "bastards" after they rebelled in Parliament over plans to expand the country's links with Europe.

6. Prince Charles on a BBC royal correspondent


The Prince of Wales and heir apparent to Queen Elizabeth got himself in trouble during a 2005 press conference at a ski resort in Switzerland, when he took umbrage at a question posed by long-time BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell about his impending marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles.

Muttering under his breath to sons William and Harry, he ranted: "Bloody people, I can't bear that man. I mean, he is so awful, he really is."

7. Former US President George Bush and former British PM Tony Blair


The duo, who were at a lunch meeting during the 2006 G8 summit in Russia, were heard engaged in a bizarre conversation about a sweater while discussing the situation in the Middle East.

Mr Bush had thanked Mr Blair for his "thoughtful" gift, to which the latter replied: "I knitted it."

8. US Vice-President Joe Biden to Mr Obama

Mr Biden looking on as Mr Obama addresses the Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House on March 30, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

The straight-talking Mr Biden, who is infamous for his off-the-cuff remarks, used the dreaded F word while gloating to Mr Obama before the signing of health insurance reform bill in 2010.

Having introduced the President to the media, he turned to hug Mr Obama before whispering: "This is a big f***ing deal."