King Charles will not attend COP27 conference after British PM Truss reportedly 'objected'

King Charles had intended to deliver a speech at the Nov 6-18 gathering. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON - King Charles III will not travel to next month's COP27 climate summit in Egypt after UK Prime Minister Liz Truss "objected" to the avid environmentalist attending, a report late Saturday said.

Britain's new monarch, who took the throne when his mother Queen Elizabeth II died last month, had intended to deliver a speech at the Nov 6-18 gathering, London's Sunday Times reported.

But the plan has been axed after Ms Truss - who was only appointed Prime Minister by the late Queen two days before she died - opposed it during a personal audience with King Charles at Buckingham Palace last month.

Queen Elizabeth addressed the last UN climate summit in November 2021, with the blessing of the Tory government led by then prime minister Boris Johnson.

King Charles’ office appeared to distance itself from the incendiary newspaper report, insisting the king had sought Ms Truss’ advice.

“With mutual friendship and respect there was agreement that the king would not attend,” it told the BBC.

The report comes amid speculation Britain's new leader, already under fire over her economic plans which have sparked market turmoil, could controversially scale back the country's climate change commitments.

Her newly assembled Cabinet contains a number of ministers who have expressed scepticism about the so-called 2050 net zero goals, while Ms Truss herself is seen as less enthusiastic about the policy than Mr Johnson.

The Sunday Times of London said she is unlikely to attend COP27 - the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) - at the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Britain hosted the last summit in the Scottish city Glasgow, when King Charles, the late Queen and his son William all addressed the event.

The prime minister's office at Downing Street declined to comment on the report.

Cabinet minister Simon Clarke dismissed it as “simply not true”, telling Sky News the decision had been made “consensually” and “amicably”.

Meanwhile, Conservative party chairman Jake Berry told the broadcaster the government was “committed to the net zero target by 2050”.

However, Tory MP Tobias Ellwood urged a rethink over the monarch’s non-participation in Egypt, tweeting he hoped “common sense will prevail”.

“King Charles is a globally respected voice on the environment and climate change,” he added. “His attendance would add serious authority to the British delegation. Can we really go from hosting COP26 to benching soft power at COP27?”

The Times said the episode was "likely to fuel tensions" between King Charles and Ms Truss, but cited a government source who claimed the audience had been "cordial" and there had "not been a row".

Meanwhile, a royal source told the paper: "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(27)."

Under convention in Britain, all overseas official visits by members of the royal family are undertaken in accordance with advice from the government.

However, despite not attending in person, reports said the king still hopes to be able to contribute in some form to the conference.

King Charles III is a committed environmentalist with a long history of campaigning for better conservation, organic farming and tackling climate change. AFP

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