Why King Charles III is not going to the Cop27

The prince will not go to the party, but he will have one of his own first.

Controversy has erupted over the new UK government’s recommendation that King Charles III should not attend COP27, the UN climate conference, in Sharm el-Sheikh next week.

Former prime minister Liz Truss had asked the king not to attend the talks, and her successor, Rishi Sunak, left that request in place.

The monarch is passionate about the climate emergency but, according to Downing Street, it was “unanimously agreed” by Buckingham Palace and the government that the king would not attend Cop27.

Instead, the King is hosting his own reception for leaders at Buckingham Palace ahead of the event, to signal his support.

Charles, who spoke at the opening ceremony of last year’s Cop26 summit in Glasgow, where he represented the Queen, has spoken publicly on environmental issues since at least 1968. Since becoming king, he was forced to voice his own opinions but it is said that the environment is close to his heart.

The Telegraph reported that the King will always champion the environment, choosing to “highlight” rather than “campaign” to protect the natural world, as a concession to his neutral role.

In an interview on Times Radio this weekend, Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project in Cornwall, who worked closely with King Charles III on a number of ventures, said: ‘J really hope that on reflection, there might be some reconsideration.

Many Britons are asking why the King shouldn’t attend a conference on climate change, which is arguably an environmental issue rather than a political one.

It seems that the government sees COP27 precisely as a political issue. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s new government is back on climate change. Sunak will not go to Cop27. Nor his new climate change minister. Additionally, Sunak removed Alok Sharma, the chairman of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

Smit suggested that an intriguing reason the new king might have been discouraged from attending Cop 27 was that his charismatic and influential personality might overshadow the official British delegation. If so, another charismatic figure might do it anyway: former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signaled he intends to attend.

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