International News

King Charles Will Not Attend COP27 Summit on PM’s advice

Hannah Walton-Hughes

Since the death of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III has faced the responsibilities incumbant on him as monarch. It has recently been confirmed that, on the Prime Minister’s advice, King Charles will not be attending the COP27 Summit. There has been some surprise over this decision, given the King’s previous involvement in environmental issues. Only last month, before his ascension to the throne, the King had indicated that he would be going. Impact’s Hannah Walton-Hughes reports. 

Within the last few days, Buckingham Palace has confirmed that King Charles III will not be attending next month’s COP27 climate change conference in Egypt. This decision was made after consultation with the Prime Minister, Liz Truss, who advised the King against attending.

The COP27 conference is instigated by the United Nations. This year, Egyptian authorities have expressed hope that the event will secure greater support for developing countries to “cope” with the colossal effects of climate change from the international community. 

Authorities in Cairo have dismissed critical reports by Human Rights Watch that Egypt has hampered the efforts of environmental groups. 

Our new monarch has previously involved himself greatly in “campaigning to reduce the effects of climate change” and has a “deep commitment” to environmental issues/problems, according to the BBC. At last year’s COP26 conference, hosted in the U.K., the then Prince gave an impassioned speech at the opening ceremony, imploring world leaders to approach climate change with a “war-like footing”. 

A story in The Sunday Times speculated that the PM had “ordered” the King to absent himself from the conference. BBC Royal correspondent, Sean Coughlan, speculates that there could be “early tensions” between King Charles and Liz Truss. However, the Palace stated that the King had “sought” advice from the PM, and a decision had been made based on “mutual friendship and respect”, with the King acknowledging the importance of acting on the government’s advice.  

Simon Clarke, Conservative Cabinet Minister, has said that, so far as he knows, the discussion was amicable, and that it was usual for the government to handle events like this, as opposed to the monarch. Downing Street dismissed all claims that the PM in any way “ordered” the King not to go. 

Furthermore, it has always been expected that, as reigning monarch, King Charles would have to take a more politically neutral stance on issues such as this.  

Whilst the Palace has declined suggestions that the King is hugely disappointed, there is still speculation. Tobias Elwood, Senior Conservative MP, has said that he hopes “common sense” prevails, and that the King will ultimately attend, describing King Charles as a “globally-respected voice” that would bring “serious authority” to the British delegation. 

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman did not give any indication as to what unfolded in the discussion between the Monarch and the PM, and simply commended the U.K. for its “proud record” in tackling this global issue. 

There does seem to be some hope that the King could contribute to the conference virtually. At last year’s COP 26 summit, the Late Queen Elizabeth II delivered a speech via a video link. 

King Charles’ role has undoubtedly changed since his ascension to the throne, but many are still disappointed by his lack of attendance at this conference. 

Hannah Walton-Hughes

Featured image courtesy of Markus Spiske via Unsplash Image licence found here. No changes were made to this image.

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