The Queen will 'regretfully' not be attending the COP26 climate change summit

The Queen has appeared to suggest she is “irritated” by the lack of action in tackling the climate crisis (Getty Images)The Queen has appeared to suggest she is “irritated” by the lack of action in tackling the climate crisis (Getty Images)
The Queen has appeared to suggest she is “irritated” by the lack of action in tackling the climate crisis (Getty Images)

The Queen has pulled out of hosting a major reception for world leaders at the Cop26 climate change summit, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

The 95-year-old monarch was due to travel to Scotland for the high-profile engagement on Monday, but will now record a speech later this week that will be played in a video message to delegates.

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The monarch will now remain at Windsor Castle instead of travelling up to Scotland.

Why will the Queen miss COP26?

The UK’s head of state is having to miss COP26 due to ongoing concerns about her health.

She cancelled a state visit to Northern Ireland last week before it was revealed she had spent the night of Wednesday 20 October in hospital - her first overnight stay at a medical facility in eight years.

According to a Palace spokesperson, the Queen has been following medical advice to rest as she recovers from her mystery illness and has been “undertaking light duties” at Windsor Castle.

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A palace spokesman 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.”

It’s unclear whether another member of the Royal Family will take over the Queen’s duties at COP26 next week.

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The Queen got back to some of her duties upon her return from hospital on Thursday 21 October.

She is likely to have been working on correspondence from her red boxes – policy papers, Cabinet documents, Foreign Office telegrams, a daily summary of events in Parliament, letters and other State papers.

However, she only performed her first public-facing role on Tuesday (26 October).

She carried out virtual audiences from Windsor Castle – her first official engagements in seven days since she was ordered to rest by doctors.

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It’s understood the Queen’s condition is not related to coronavirus.

What is COP26?

COP26, or the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, is an upcoming international summit where the world’s leaders will attempt to agree on how best to tackle the climate crisis.

The acronym ‘COP’ stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’.

These events take place annually, with the 2021 edition being the 26th such summit.

Hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, COP26 is set to be the biggest climate change summit since Paris in 2015 (COP21).

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In the French capital, 196 nation states signed up to a goal of limiting global warming to “well below” two degrees celsius this century, with an ultimate aim of keeping it below 1.5 degrees celsius.

These targets have since become the foundation for many countries’ and businesses’ net-zero ambitions.

However, a report published in August by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found they were unlikely to be achieved.

So 2021’s edition has been labelled as “the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control” by its organisers - the UK Government.

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Its aim is to get countries to update their plans for reducing emissions and to become more ambitious in how they tackle climate change.

A version of this article originally appeared on