King Charles ditches formalities as he kisses Stella McCartney

King Charles hosts Cop27 reception at Buckingham Palace

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Ahead of the upcoming COP27 conference in Sharm El Sheikh, King Charles has hosted a reception for leading figures of environmentalism at Buckingham Palace. During the event, the monarch shared an amusing encounter with fashion designer Stella McCartney, who appeared confused over traditional royal greetings. The fashion mogul approached King Charles who extended his arm to shake her hand, before he promptly ditched formalities and planted a kiss on her cheek. Ms McCartney confessed she wasn’t sure about the procedure for meeting the monarch but the King was quick to reassure her with a hearty laugh.

As King Charles conversed with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Stella McCartney approached from the side.

She initially went to shake hands with the monarch but remarked: “Your Majesty, I don’t know what to do anymore.”

The King pulled her in for a quick peck on each cheek. The fashion designer offered a quick curtsey, adding: “I think I am supposed to do this now.”

The monarch responded with a light chuckle, echoed by the Prime Minister who remained at his side.

The interaction between King Charles and Ms McCartney has captured a break in royal tradition as it is notably rare for the monarch to greet individuals outside of the Royal Family in such a manner.

The late Queen Elizabeth was only known to kiss members of her family or close friends in greeting throughout her time on the throne.

The break from royal protocol could be another indication of the King’s departure from more archaic traditions within the institution, as royal commentators have suggested King Charles is keen to shift the monarchy into a more modern organisation.

The King’s former butler Grant Harrold has predicted: “We’ll see a King that is traditional, but a little bit of a modernist too.”

Read more: Charles ‘regrets’ forcing William and Harry to walk in Diana’s funeral

The COP27 reception is not the first time the King has strayed from royal tradition when greeting guests.

During an engagement in April, King Charles greeted Queen Letizia of Spain with a kiss on the cheek and planted another on her hand.

Following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the King was welcomed by thousands of well-wishers on his return to Buckingham Palace. As he meandered along the fence to thank the public, the King accepted a kiss on the cheek from one woman among the crowd. 

Other mourners kissed the monarch’s hand as he accepted swathes of flower tributes in honour of his late mother.

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Ms McCartney, who is the daughter of Beatles star Paul McCartney and animal rights activist Linda McCartney, was among attendees of the King’s prestigious COP27 reception.

The fashion designer has worked to create sustainable clothing and promotes methods of reducing the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

Rishi Sunak also made an appearance, after announcing he would attend COP27 despite earlier reports from Downing Street that the Prime Minister would miss the event to focus on pressing domestic concerns.

Buckingham Palace has confirmed the King will not attend this year’s UN conference, despite having held a leading role in Glasgow’s COP26 just last year.

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