The video was filmed in March 2012 in Los Angeles. It was directed by Adria Petty and Alan Bibby. Rihanna described her look in the video as “gangsta goth geisha”. Starting from 17 April 2012, a tour edition of the video started playing behind the band as they perform the song during their North American leg of their Mylo Xyloto Tour. In the tour version of the video, it shows Rihanna wearing two different costumes and golden nail guards as she performs a choreography with her arms in front of a background with colorful effects. It contains visual references to various Chinese wuxia films, including Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Zhang Yimou’s Hero, House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower.
It was confirmed that the full video would be finished by the third week of May 2012. During the second week of May, Coldplay released sketch drawings as teasers of “Princess of China” video. On 14 May 2012, Coldplay and Rihanna released a behind the scenes video of “Princess of China” via VEVO and on their own YouTube sites. The video was officially released on 2 June 2012.
The video portrays Chris Martin and Rihanna as lovers with a complicated story. Rihanna is seen imitating a multi-armed goddess in the clip. In one of the scenes Martin and Rihanna are seen kneeling in a desert, with their foreheads touching each other, as they bemoan the loss of their love. The scene then proceeds to be violent as they engage in a sword-fight. The video closes on scenes of Chris Martin seated on a throne watching Rihanna dance with a red coloured drape surrounded by many female dancers kneeling down and men beating the drums.In the video, Rihanna’s hair was pinned up with chopsticks and she described her look in the video as “gangsta goth geisha”.