King Charles III will not attend next month’s United Nations climate summit in Egypt, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Sunday, after British Prime Minister Liz Truss allegedly “objected” to the presence of an environmentalist keen.
Britain’s new monarch, who came to the throne on the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II last month, was planning to deliver a speech to world leaders gathered at the COP27 summit from November 6-18, reported the Sunday Times.
But the plan was scrapped after Truss – who was appointed prime minister by the late Queen just two days before the latter’s death – objected to it during a personal audience with Charles at the palace last month, a indicated the newspaper.
Queen Elizabeth addressed the last UN climate summit in November 2021, with the blessing of the Conservative government led by Truss’ predecessor Boris Johnson.
Charles III’s office appeared to distance itself from the inflammatory newspaper report, insisting that the king had sought Truss’s advice.
“With mutual friendship and respect, it was agreed that the King would not participate,” he told the BBC.
The Sunday Times story comes amid speculation that Britain’s new leader – already under fire over his economic plans that have sparked market turmoil – could controversially cut the country’s legally binding climate pledges.
Her newly assembled cabinet contains a number of ministers who have expressed skepticism about the so-called 2050 net zero targets, while Truss herself is seen as less enthusiastic about the policy than her predecessor Johnson.
The newspaper said she was unlikely to attend COP27 – the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Britain hosted the latest summit, COP26, in the Scottish city of Glasgow. In addition to the late Queen, Charles and his son William both spoke at the event.
– ‘Benching soft power’ –
Downing Street declined to comment on the report.
Cabinet Minister Simon Clarke dismissed it as ‘simply wrong’, telling Sky News the decision had been made ‘by consensus’ and ‘amicably’.
Meanwhile, Conservative party chairman Jake Berry told the broadcaster the government was “committed to net zero by 2050”.
However, Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood urged a rethink on the monarch’s non-participation in Egypt, tweeting that he hoped “common sense will prevail”.
“King Charles is a globally respected voice on the environment and climate change,” Ellwood added.
“His presence would add serious authority to the British delegation. Can we really move from hosting COP26 to building soft power at COP27? »
The Sunday Times said the episode was ‘likely to fuel tension’ between Charles and Truss, but quoted a government source as saying the hearing had been ‘cordial’ and that there was ‘no no argument.”
Meanwhile, a royal source told the newspaper: “It is no mystery that the king was invited to go there.
“He had to think very carefully about the steps for his first overseas tour, and he will not be attending COP (27).
According to convention in Britain, all official visits abroad by members of the Royal Family are undertaken in accordance with government advice.
However, although he did not attend in person, reports indicate that the King still hopes to be able to contribute in some way to the conference.
Charles III is a committed environmentalist, with a long history of campaigning for better conservation, organic farming and the fight against climate change.