UK’s Queen Elizabeth cancels COP26 attendance ‘on medical advice’

The 95-year-old queen stayed overnight in hospital last Wednesday after undergoing ‘preliminary investigations’ for an unspecified ailment.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II
The queen remains in good spirits and wants COP26 to be a success, a palace source said [File: Steve Parsons/Reuters]

The United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth has pulled out of the COP26 conference in Glasgow next week after she was advised by doctors to rest, Buckingham Palace said, in a blow to the United Nations climate summit.

A palace source said on Tuesday that the decision to not attend had been taken as a “sensible precaution” and to let everyone know in advance. The queen remains in good spirits and wants COP26 to be a success, the source added.

“Following advice to rest, the Queen has been undertaking light duties at Windsor Castle,” Buckingham Palace said.

“Her Majesty has regretfully decided that she will no longer travel to Glasgow to attend the Evening Reception of COP26 on Monday, 1st November.”

The 95-year-old queen, the world’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch, stayed overnight in hospital last Wednesday after undergoing “preliminary investigations” for an unspecified but not COVID-19 related ailment.

It was her first hospital stay since 2013.

She carried out her first official engagement since the hospital stay earlier on Tuesday, holding two virtual audiences to welcome the new ambassadors to the UK from South Korea and Switzerland.

Elizabeth, who is queen of 15 other realms including Australia, Canada and New Zealand and next year celebrates 70 years on the throne, is known for her robust health and still carrying out many public duties.

At almost daily public engagements, she has always appeared in good health – although she was seen using a walking stick for the first time at a major public event this month.

News of the cancellation is likely to raise concerns about her health. She was recently overheard saying she was irritated by world leaders who talk about climate change but do nothing to tackle it.

The queen had been due to attend an evening event next Monday at the conference where world leaders will meet including US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The UK has cast the United Nations COP26 climate conference which begins in Glasgow on October 31 as the last big chance to slow rising temperatures, and hopes to persuade leaders to adopt tougher climate targets.

However, Johnson said on Monday it was “touch and go” as to whether COP26 would succeed in securing the requirements needed to limit the rise in the average global temperature to 1.5 degree Celsius (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The queen will deliver an address to the assembled delegates via a recorded message, the palace added. Elizabeth’s son and heir Prince Charles and his eldest son Prince William are still due to attend.

Source: News Agencies