The Queen has urged world leaders to ‘join in the shared objective of creating a safer, stabler future for our people and for the planet’ at COP26 today, and expressed her pride at her son and grandson’s contributions to tackling the issue of climate change.
Buckingham Palace announced last week that The Queen wouldn’t attend the climate crisis summit, before her doctors told her rest for at least the next two weeks. She instead recorded a video message for attendees, which was shown this evening.
“I am delighted to welcome you all to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference; and it is perhaps fitting that you have come together in Glasgow, once a heartland of the industrial revolution, but now a place to address climate change,” Her Majesty said to attendees at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow.
The Queen noted how environmental issues had been a passion of her late husband, Prince Philip’s, and shared a personal anecdote.
“I remember well that in 1969, he 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.’
A photo of her husband in a swarm of butterflies sat behind her on the desk; she also wore a diamond and ruby butterfly brooch, which was a wedding gift back in 1947.
During the speech, Her Majesty shared her delight that members of her family were taking action and raising awareness of climate change.
“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.
“Indeed I have 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.
“In the coming days, the world has the chance to join in the shared objective of creating a safer, stabler future for our people and for the planet on which we depend.'”
The Monarch noted how it won’t be an easy journey but unity will help combat climate change. “None of us underestimates the challenges ahead: but history has shown that when nations come together in common cause, there is always room for hope. Working side by side, we have the ability to solve the most insurmountable problems and to triumph over the greatest of adversities.:
In her pre-recorded message, she drew on the experience of her record-breaking reign: “For more than 70 years, I have been lucky to meet and know many of the world’s greatest leaders. And I have perhaps come to understand a little about what made them special.
“It has sometimes been observed that what leaders do for their people today is government and politics. But what they do for the people of tomorrow – that is statesmanship.
“I, for one, hope that this conference will be one of those rare occasions where everyone will have the chance to rise about the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship,” she added.
“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. That you left this conference as a community of nations with a determination, a desire, and a plan, to address the impact of climate change; and to recognise that the time for words has now moved to the time for action.”
“I, for one, hope that this conference will be one of those rare occasions where everyone will have the chance to rise above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship.”
The Queen has delivered a video message to mark the start of #COP26
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) November 1, 2021
The Queen concluded her speech by saying: “Of course, the benefits of such actions will not be there to enjoy for all of us here today; we none of us will forever. But we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps.”
“And so I wish you every good fortune in this significant endeavour.”
Delegates applauded the video address, which was followed by a brief speech from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who paid tribute to the Royal Family and The Prince of Wales for his leadership and foresight in tackling the climate crisis.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, alongside The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are attending the conference in Glasgow this week undertaking duties relating to climate change and a number of their patronages.