Queen 'couldn't be prouder' of Charles and William for continuing Philip's climate work

The Queen, who pulled out of COP26 on medical advice, recorded a video message and told leaders they would be judged by history, ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports

The Queen has said she "could not be more proud" that the environmental work of her "dear late husband" lives on through her son Charles and grandson William.

In a video message played at the COP26 climate conference, the Monarch said she was "especially happy" to take on the duty of raising awareness of the impact of climate change as it was a "subject close to the heart" of Prince Philip.

The 95-year-old was due to host world leaders at the talks in Glasgow, which began today, but cancelled her trip after being ordered to a further two weeks of rest by her doctors.

She told the evening reception in a pre-recorded message that nations must work hard to limit global warming "not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps".

Watch the Queen's COP26 speech in full:

The Queen drew inspiration for her climate address from a speech read by her husband five decades ago on the risk of emissions.

She told the summit: "I remember well that in 1969, he [Philip] told an academic gathering: 'If the world pollution situation is not critical at the moment, it is as certain as anything can be, that the situation will become increasingly intolerable within a very short time… If we fail to cope with this challenge, all the other problems will pale into insignificance.'

"It is a source of great pride to me that the leading role my husband played in encouraging people to protect our fragile planet, lives on through the work of our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William. 

"I could not be more proud of them."

The Queen told world leaders she hoped they would "rise above the politics of the moment" and work together to tackle global warming.

Her words echoed those of her son's speech at the G20 summit in Rome, when he asked nations to "set aside our differences", calling the climate talks the "last chance saloon" to save the planet, and argued that a “war-like footing” is needed to tackle the issue as he opened COP26.

Her Majesty went on to say she had "drawn great comfort and inspiration from the relentless enthusiasm of people of all ages – especially the young – in calling for everyone to play their part.

"It is the hope of many that the legacy of this summit – written in history books yet to be printed – will describe you as the leaders who did not pass up the opportunity; and that you answered the call of those future generations," she added.

But activists appeared less optimistic than the Queen as protests got underway in the Scottish city, with Greta Thunberg telling politicians: "We say no more blah blah blah, no more exploitation of people and nature and the planet."

Oxfam GB demonstrators, dressed as world leaders, told ITV News this morning they want to see "immediate action" rather than "hot air" from governments.

Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told those in Glasgow that humankind is "treating nature like a toilet" by continuing to use fossil fuels and "we are digging our own graves" in the process.

The COP27 climate conference - what you need to know

What is COP27? 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.

COP27 is the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties summit which will be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from November 6-18.

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 COP27:

  • UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is attending the conference, after initially saying he wouldn't as he was too busy focusing on the economy within his first weeks in office.

  • US President Joe Biden and his experienced climate envoy, John Kerry, will appear at the talks.

  • France President Emmanuel Macron will also be among the heads of state from around the world staying in Egypt.

King Charles III will not be attending COP27, despite being a staunch advocate for the environment. The decision was made jointly by Buckingham Palace and former prime minister Liz Truss.

Elsewhere, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will not attend the talks just as they decided to do for COP26.

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What is it hoping to achieve?

1. Ensure full implementation of the Paris Agreement and putting negotiations into concrete actions - included within this is the target of limiting global warming to well below 2C.

2. Cementing progress on the critical workstreams of mitigation, adaptation, finance and loss and damage, while stepping up finance notably to tackle the impacts of climate change.

3. Enhancing the delivery of the principles of transparency and accountability throughout the UN Climate Change process.

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