From protesters toppling an effigy of George W Bush to demos against China’s human rights record, state visits to the UK have had their fair share of controversy.

1971 – Japan’s Emperor Hirohito

The Queen meets Emperor Hirohito in 1971 / PA
The Queen meets Emperor Hirohito in 1971 / PA

Emperor Hirohito, Japan’s wartime head of state, made his first state visit to Britain in 1971. Former prisoners of war – angry at Japan’s brutal militaristic past – protested by standing in silence as his carriage drove past.

Some turned their back on the emperor and wore red gloves to symbolise war deaths while others whistled the popular Second World War march, Colonel Bogey.

They called on Japan to offer them compensation and a full apology for their treatment during the war.

1978 – Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu

Nicolae Ceausescu's State Visit /PA
Nicolae Ceausescu’s State Visit in 1978 behind the smiles she admits she hid behind a bush rather than ‘conduct polite conversation’/PA

It was the first state visit by a Communist head of state to the UK and Romania was already well-known as one of the most corrupt and oppressive of the Soviet Union’s Cold War satellite states.

The Queen took drastic steps to avoid meeting Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu any more than necessary, according to royal author Robert Hardman.

“While walking her dogs in the Palace gardens, she spotted Ceausescu and his wife Elena heading in her direction.

“As the Queen told a lunch guest some years later, she decided the best course of action was to hide behind a bush rather than conduct polite conversation,” he wrote.

1998 – Japan’s Emperor Akihito

Just like his father did in 1971, Akihito met obvious hostility on London’s streets from British prisoners of war.

Former PoWs symbolically turned their backs on him, while others jeered him.

Addressing the state banquet, Akihito spoke of his “deep sorrow and pain” over the suffering inflicted by his country during the war, but did not apologies for the treatment of prisoners in work camps.

2003 – Russia’s Vladimir Putin

Putin caused a national stir in his State Visit in 2003 /PA

Mr Putin’s historic trip was the first by a Russian head of state since Tsar Nicholas I in 1843.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups used the visit to highlight ongoing reports of killings, rape and torture by Russian forces in Chechnya.

2003 – US president George W Bush

President George Bush’s state visit, while Tony Blair was prime minister, was highly controversial.

Tens of thousands of people came out to protest against the American leader and the war in Iraq, amid unprecedented security for a state visit.

Demonstrations throughout Mr Bush’s stay were mostly peaceful, and peaked with the toppling of an effigy of Mr Bush in Trafalgar Square, which parodied scenes of the capture of Baghdad.

Stop The War Coalition said some 200,000 joined the demonstration.

One protester threw an egg at the presidential cavalcade, but missed.