King Charles Will not Attend COP27

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It was responding to a story in The Sunday Times which claimed Prime Minister Liz Truss had “ordered” the King not to attend.

The Palace said advice had been sought by the King and given by Ms Truss.

“With mutual friendship and respect there was agreement that the King would not attend,” the Palace stated.

Before his ascension to the throne last month, the King – then the Prince of Wales – had indicated he would attend the annual conference.

Royal correspondent Jonny Dymond said the BBC had put it to the Palace that” the King must be personally disappointed given his long decades of passionate environmental campaigning.”

But the Palace responded that the idea that the King was ‘uncomfortable’ was not the case, and that he was ever mindful of the sovereign’s role to act on the advice of the government.

Last November – as Prince Charles – the King travelled to Egypt with the then-government’s blessing to urge the Egyptian administration on in its efforts, meeting President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi during a planned visit.

In the past, the “King has demonstrated his deep commitment to environmental issues and, as Prince of Wales, had a long history of campaigning to reduce the effects of climate change.”

Only last year he made a speech at the COP26 opening ceremony in Glasgow, when the summit was hosted by the UK. The late Queen also gave a speech at the event, via video link.

At last year’s COP26 conference, King Charles – or Prince Charles as he was then – was one of the star turns, delivering a passionate call for world leaders to adopt a “war-like footing” over climate change.

This year he’ll have to “keep his powder dry,” after what’s presented, on the surface at least, as a dispute-free agreement that he shouldn’t go.

Although it’s worth noting this is about not attending “in person,” which might leave the door ajar for other virtual contributions.

There will inevitably be speculation that, below all the constitutional smoothing, this will have really disappointed the King. He has “campaigned devotedly for decades, heart on sleeve, on such environmental issues.”

And it could also raise the prospect of early tensions between a new King and a new PM.

But it’s a case of different role, different rules, and the King has always known that as sovereign he would have to act within a different set of “politically-neutral constraints.”

 

BBC /Shakirat Sadiq

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