Queen will be 'frustrated' by COP26 absence says expert
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Queen Elizabeth II, 95, will no longer attend COP26 after she was advised to rest, Buckingham Palace announced today. Her Majesty had been due to attend the two-week global climate change summit, which begins in Glasgow on Sunday. The event will see world leaders from 200 countries attempt to hammer out commitments to slash fossil fuel emissions to curb the effects of climate change.
The Queen’s cancellation comes after Britain’s longest-serving monarch was admitted to hospital for a night last week.
She was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital for medical checks last Wednesday after scrapping her scheduled trip to Northern Ireland.
The Queen stayed overnight before returning to Windsor Castle on Thursday.
The monarch was recently seen using a walking stick as she appeared at a Westminster Abbey service and the opening of Welsh Parliament.
Yesterday, she resumed her royal duties as she met ambassadors on a video call from Windsor Castle.
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Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “Following advice to rest, The Queen has been undertaking light duties at Windsor Castle.
“Her Majesty has regretfully decided that she will no longer travel to Glasgow to attend the evening reception of COP26 on Monday, November 1.
“Her Majesty is disappointed not to attend the reception but will deliver an address to the assembled delegates via a recorded video message.”
Despite the monarch’s absence at COP26, she has already “embarrassed” Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison over the summit, according to the Daily Mirror’s Royal Editor Russell Myers.
The Queen hit headlines earlier this month after she was heard saying she was “irritated” by world leaders who “talk but don’t do”.
At the time, Mr Morrison had not confirmed his attendance at the event.
The morning after Her Majesty’s comments, the Australian Prime Minister said he would be going to Glasgow for the event, after weeks of hesitation.
The Queen is still head of state in Australia, one of 15 Commonwealth Realms across the world.
Speaking last week on royal podcast ‘Pod Save The Queen’, hosted by Zoe Forsey, Mr Myers said the Queen’s recent criticism of world leaders over climate change may have been directed at Mr Morrison.
He said: “Because obviously there is not only Chinese [President] Xi Jinping, you’ve got Russia’s Putin, but also Australia’s Scott Morrison and he’s not been very forthcoming.
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“And I have been speaking about this last week with our Australian cousins that Scott Morrison’s unwillingness to get on board with this climate change conference and indeed a global climate change message is causing quite a problem.”
“And when the head of state of Australia is essentially calling you out in everything but name it’s very, very embarrassing indeed, and I know it did make headlines in Australia.”
Her Majesty’s comments came as she attended the sixth opening session of the Welsh Senedd in Cardiff earlier this month.
As the Queen was chatting to Camilla and a Welsh Parliament representative, microphones picked up comments by the monarch in which she appeared to issue a rare public statement about how world leaders should be doing more to protect the environment.
She was quoted as saying: “Extraordinary isn’t it… I’ve been hearing all about COP… still don’t know who is coming… no idea.
“We only know about people who are not coming… It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.”
The Queen’s comments were interpreted by some as being directed at Mr Morrison, whose attendance at COP26 was initially uncertain.
The Australian leader, who has been under fire for his government’s climate change, eventually confirmed his attendance at the summit.
This week his administration also published its climate change plan and matched the commitments of other developed nations to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Mr Myers said the Queen’s intervention was “extraordinary” and that she was “very, very candid” in her comments.
He added: “The Queen doesn’t normally make such punchy and ‒ I would dare say ‒ political statements like this.
“I know that we’ve had a couple of instances in recent years where she’s sort of slipped into conversation with a member of the public or whatnot.
“Very, very cutely speaking about the Scottish referendum and then the Brexit decision for Britain to leave the EU.”
She started going on about the fact that people ‒ or world leaders, we are meant to assume ‒ that they hadn’t been signing up to the climate change conference.
“And this is a really really big deal, because as the Queen said, we still don’t know who’s coming and then she started going ‘it’s really irritating when they talk but they don’t do’.
“And I did think she was irritated, you could see that she was angered by it.
“And then she started talking about this irritation is leading to them not knowing what is going on – and this made headlines, front pages all the next day, headlines around the world.”
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