COP26: Queen will not be attending climate change summit in Glasgow following advice to rest

ITV News Political Reporter Shehab Khan on whether the Queen's cancellation will impact the success of COP26


The Queen will not be attending COP26 next week following advice to rest.

The 95-year-old monarch was due to attend the summit in Glasgow on Monday 1 November with Prince Charles and Camilla as well as Prince William and Kate.

In a statement released on Tuesday, however, Buckingham Palace said: "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, 1st November.

"Her Majesty is disappointed not to attend the reception but will deliver an address to the assembled delegates via a recorded video message."

The Queen returned to work on Tuesday carrying out virtual audiences from Windsor Castle for the first time since she spent a night in hospital and was ordered to rest by her doctors.

Last week, the Queen was forced to cancel a two-day visit to Northern Ireland and had to make an overnight stay at the King Edward VII Hospital in London, where Buckingham Palace said she underwent some preliminary tests.

It was her first overnight stay at a medical facility in eight years.

The Queen remains at Windsor Castle and decided against attending the Sunday service at All Saints church at Royal Lodge on the estate at the weekend.


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It is understood the Queen very much wants COP26 to be a success and result in meaningful action from the participating nations.

With the head of state missing from the global event it is hoped no world leaders will use her absence as a reason not to attend the summit being hosted by Glasgow.

The Queen met two new ambassadors on a video call. Credit: PA

The COP26 climate conference - what you need to know

What is COP26? When and where will it be?

Each year, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meets at what is called the Conference of the Parties (abbreviated as COP) to discuss the world's progress on climate change and how to tackle it.

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties summit which will be held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November.

Who is going?

Leaders of the 197 countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a treaty that came into force in 1994 - are invited to the summit.

These are some of the world leaders that will be attending COP26:

  • US President Joe Biden, climate envoy John Kerry, climate adviser and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, and 10 other US cabinet officials.

  • Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison. In the days leading up to COP26, Mr Morrison committed Australia to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Prince Charles, Prince William, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge are also attending. The Queen has withdrawn from visiting after being advised by her doctors to rest - she will address the conference virtually instead.

China's President Xi Jinping, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil are among the leaders that have decided not to travel to Glasgow.

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What is it hoping to achieve?

1. Achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels - Countries are being encouraged to set ambitious 2030 emissions targets. They are also encouraged to accelerate the phase-out of coal, clamp down on deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewables.

2. Protect natural habitats and communities from climate change disasters

3. Finances for a greener future - In 2009, developed countries were asked to keep to their promises to contribute at least $100 billion (£72.5 billion) per year by 2020 to protect the planet. In 2015, it was agreed that the goal would be extended to 2025.

However, new analysis shows the goal is unlikely to have been met last year and is on track to fall short in 2021 and 2022.

4. Getting all countries and organisations to work together to tackle the climate crisis

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Following on from her virtual audiences with Gunn Kim, ambassador from the Republic of Korea, and the Swiss ambassador Markus Leitner, the Queen is expecting a call from the Chancellor on Tuesday evening.

Rishi Sunak will speak to the Queen on the eve of his budget, a tradition dating back some years.

The monarch is also expected to carry out light engagements in the coming days.