An incredibly curious piece was published in the Sunday Times: “Liz Truss orders King Charles to stay away from COP27 climate summit.” “Orders” you say? The woman who became prime minister two days before QEII died and managed to completely crash the British economy in less than a month is “ordering” the king to not do something? As curious as that idea is, what’s even more interesting is that this piece is 100% from Buckingham Palace. This is King Charles announcing that he’s not going to the climate conference, blaming Liz Truss for it, delegitimizing the Tory government’s positions on environmental issues AND embiggening himself as an environmental leader and a king who will not “meddle” in politics. It’s actually pretty sly from Charles, I have to tip my hat to him.
The King, a passionate environmental campaigner, has abandoned plans to attend next month’s Cop27 climate change summit after Liz Truss told him to stay away. He had intended to deliver a speech at the meeting of world leaders in Egypt. Truss, who is also unlikely to attend the Sharm el-Sheikh gathering, objected to the King’s plans during a personal audience at Buckingham Palace last month.
The decision is likely to fuel tensions between the new prime minister and the new monarch, although a Downing Street source claimed the audience had been cordial and there had “not been a row”. The news comes amid suspicion that the government may water down, or abandon, its environmental target to achieve “net zero” by 2050.
A senior royal source said: “It is no mystery that the King was invited to go there. He had to think very carefully about what steps to take for his first overseas tour, and he is not going to be attending Cop.” They said the decision was made on the government’s advice and was “entirely in the spirit of being ever-mindful as King that he acts on government advice”.
The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as Cop27, will run from November 6 to 18. Charles is still determined to make his presence felt there, and how he will do that is “under active discussion”. A senior royal source said: “Just because he is not in physical attendance, that doesn’t mean His Majesty won’t find other ways to support it.”
A source who knows Charles said he would be “personally disappointed” to miss it and was “all lined up to go”, with several engagements planned around his Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) which aims to persuade businesses to invest in environmentally friendly initiatives.
The source said: “The Queen gave an entirely non-political address at Cop last year . . . it sounds like he is not being given the choice. That is an error of judgment on the part of the government. The King could absolutely go and deliver the government’s message and give it credibility, given all the kudos he has in that space. It’s disappointing if people don’t believe he’d be able to do that, of course he could. He delivered the Queen’s speech at the state opening of parliament, rattling off lots of policies that went against his personal beliefs. He absolutely can put the government seatbelt on and drive at 30 miles per hour. He has already shown he is more than equal to that task.”
The Prince of Wales was also at Cop26, but will not be in Egypt. He is keen to focus on his Earthshot prize for environmental innovations and will attend its award ceremony in Boston in December, along with the Princess of Wales.
As I said, Charles is a sly old dog. But the thing is, everyone sees this. I think it’s pretty obvious that this framing is coming from Charles and the palace. They’re actually kneecapping Truss and saying SHE is the one banning him, she is politicizing the crown and Truss and the Tories don’t want to do anything substantive with climate issues. I also wonder if Charles was already looking for a reason to cancel his appearance too – did he really want his first overseas trip as king to be to a climate conference in Egypt?
Scenes from last year’s Cop26 conference in Scotland:
Photos courtesy of Instar, Avalon Red.