King Charles III will not travel to Egypt for next month’s United Nations climate summit, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Sunday after Britain’s Prime Minister Liz Truss reportedly “objected” the keen environmentalist’s attendance.
Britain’s new monarch, who ascended to the throne after the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II last month, had intended to address world leaders gathering at the COP27 summit from 6-18 November gathered, the Sunday Times reported.
But the plan was scrapped after Truss – who was appointed Prime Minister by the late Queen just two days before her death – opposed it during a personal audience with Charles at the palace last month, the newspaper said.
Queen Elizabeth spoke at the last UN climate summit in November 2021 with the blessing of the Tory government led by Truss’s predecessor, Boris Johnson.
The office of Charles III. appeared to distance himself from the inflammatory newspaper report, claiming that the king had asked Truss for advice.
“In mutual friendship and respect, it has been agreed that the King will not attend,” he told the BBC.
The Sunday Times story comes amid speculation that Britain’s new leader – already under fire for her economic plans that have sparked market turmoil – could controversially scale back the country’s legally binding climate commitments.
Her newly assembled cabinet includes a number of ministers who have expressed skepticism about the so-called net-zero 2050 targets, while Truss herself is seen as less enthusiastic about politics than his predecessor Johnson.
The newspaper said it was unlikely to attend COP27 – the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The UK hosted the last COP26 summit in the Scottish city of Glasgow. In addition to the late Queen, Charles and his son William also addressed the event.
– ‘Soft Power Bench Press’ –
Downing Street declined to comment on the report.
Cabinet Secretary Simon Clarke dismissed this as “simply not true” and told Sky News the decision was “amicable” and “consensual”.
Meanwhile, Conservative Party leader Jake Berry told the broadcaster the government is “committed to net zero by 2050”.
However, Tory MP Tobias Ellwood called for a rethink on the monarch’s non-attendance in Egypt, tweeting he hopes “common sense will prevail”.
“King Charles is a globally respected voice on the environment and climate change,” added Ellwood.
“His presence would give the British delegation serious authority. Can we really move from hosting COP26 to bench-soft power at COP27?”
The Sunday Times said the episode was “likely to stir up tension” between Charles and Truss, but quoted a Government source as saying the audience was “cordial” and there was “no argument”.
Meanwhile, a royal source told the newspaper: “It’s no secret that the king has been invited to go there.
“He’s had to think very carefully about what steps to take for his first overseas tour, and he won’t be attending COP(27).”
As per convention in Britain, all official foreign visits by members of the Royal Family are conducted in accordance with Government recommendations.
Although the King was not present in person, the King reportedly still hoped 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 combating climate change.