Queen tells world leaders to 'rise above politics' at COP26

Queen tells world leaders to ‘rise above politics and achieve true statesmanship’ by reaching decisive COP26 climate change deals ‘for the people of tomorrow because none of us will live forever’ in intensely personal speech

  • The Queen urged world leaders to ‘earn a place in history’ and ‘answer the call of those future generations’ 
  • Her Majesty told leaders ‘to rise above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship’ in speech
  • Monarch also paid tribute to Prince Philip and described how the environment was a subject close to his heart

The Queen urged world leaders to ‘earn a place in history’ and ‘answer the call of those future generations’ in an impassioned speech to representatives at the COP26 summit tonight.

Her Majesty, 95, who was forced to miss the conference after her overnight stay in hospital last month, told leaders via video ‘to rise above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship’ as Government representatives attended the reception for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

She went on to say that ‘none of us will live forever’ and ‘we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps’ as she urged leaders to reach decisive COP climate change deals. 

In her most personal speech to date, the monarch also paid tribute to Prince Philip and described how ‘the impact of the environment on human progress’ was a subject close to the heart of her ‘dear late husband’ – who in 1969 told an academic gathering: ‘If we fail to cope with this challenge, all the other problems will pale into insignificance.’  

The Queen’s stern intervention came after Boris Johnson kicked off the climate change summit by exhorting world leaders to back up their talk on climate change with action – warning it was ‘one minute to midnight’.

The PM used his speech at the opening of the summit as a rallying cry to try to build momentum as he welcomed foreign leaders to Glasgow after securing only lukewarm climate commitments at the G20 summit in Rome over the weekend. 

Meanwhile Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, today accused countries of ‘treating nature like a toilet’ as he warned of a looming ‘climate catastrophe’. 

 The Queen urged world leaders to ‘earn a place in history’ and ‘to rise above the politics of the moment in her address to leaders at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow

Government representatives and world leaders have been tackling the issue of climate change at the COP26 summit in Glasgow

 The monarch also paid tribute to Prince Philip and described how ‘ the impact of the environment on human progress’ was a subject close to the heart of her ‘dear late husband’

During her speech tonight Her Majesty said: ‘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. 

‘This is a duty I am especially happy to discharge, as the impact of the environment on human progress was a subject close to the heart of my dear late husband, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. 

‘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.”

Her Majesty described how personally invested she was in the matter and said she ‘could not be more proud’ of her later husband, her eldest son Charles and her grandson William in their efforts  to ‘protect our fragile planet’.

She continued: ‘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.’ 

She continued: ‘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 Queen’s full speech to world leaders at COP26

‘Thank you, Prime Minister Holness, for your kind words of introduction. 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. 

‘This is a duty I am especially happy to discharge, as the impact of the environment on human progress was a subject close to the heart of my dear late husband, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. 

‘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.’

 ‘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. 

‘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.

 ‘For more than seventy years, I have been lucky to meet and to know many of the world’s great 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 above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship. 

‘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.

‘Of course, the benefits of such actions will not be there to enjoy for all of us here today: we none of us will live 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. ‘

 

‘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.

 ‘For more than seventy years, I have been lucky to meet and to know many of the world’s great 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 above the politics of the moment, and achieve true statesmanship. 

‘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.’  

Boris Johnson told world leaders at the start of the COP26 summit that they can no longer afford to delay taking major action to address climate change as he warned ‘the longer we fail to act, the worse it gets’.

The Prime Minister compared the situation facing the globe to the climax of a James Bond film where the hero has to thwart plans to blow up the planet.

But Mr Johnson said ‘this is not a movie’ and the ‘doomsday device is real’ as he urged his counterparts to do more to reduce harmful emissions.

The premier said the longer countries wait to take action then ‘the higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act’.

He said the world has ‘long since run the clock down on climate change’ and there is now just ‘one minute to midnight’, with action required immediately to prevent a global disaster.

The PM used his speech at the opening of the summit as a rallying cry to try to build momentum as he welcomed foreign leaders to Glasgow after securing only lukewarm climate commitments at the G20 summit in Rome over the weekend.

However, hopes for the UN event have suffered fresh setbacks, after it emerged that China’s president Xi Jinping will not even give a ‘virtual’ speech, instead only submitting a written statement.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan also announced he will not be coming, despite attending the G20. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, both in charge of big polluters, have declined to attend.

Meanwhile, the organisation of the conference has come under fire after thousands of delegates were forced to wait hours to get through shambolic security systems this morning.   

Mr Johnson pledged in his lunchtime speech to put another billion pounds into green finance – as long as the UK economy performs as expected in the coming years.

The PM repeated he wants global leaders to unveil steps on ‘coal, cars, cash and trees’ – the things he believes will make the most different in limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.

Mr Johnson had set the tone as the G20 wrapped up last night by reading the riot act to his fellow world leaders, saying their promises on tackling climate change are starting to ‘sound hollow’.

The PM said there are ‘no compelling excuses for our procrastination’ on reducing harmful emissions and action already taken amounts to ‘drops in a rapidly warming ocean’.

Mr Johnson welcomed world leaders to Scotland by telling them that the country’s most famous fictional son was James Bond. 

The PM said the fictional hero ‘generally comes to the climax of his highly lucrative films strapped to a doomsday device, desperately trying to work out which coloured wire to pull to turn it off while a red digital clock ticks down remorselessly to a detonation that will end human life as we know it’. 

Addressing the packed summit hall, he said: ‘And we are in roughly the same position, my fellow global leaders, as James Bond today. Except that the tragedy is this is not a movie and the doomsday device is real. 

Boris Johnson (pictured with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) kicked off the climate change summit by exhorting world leaders to back up their talk on climate change with action 

Sir David Attenborough delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow

 The PM used his speech at the opening of the summit as a rallying cry to try to build momentum as he welcomed foreign leaders to Glasgow after securing only lukewarm climate commitments at the G20 summit in Rome over the weekend

 The premier said the longer countries wait to take action then ‘the higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act’. Mr Johnson is pictured welcoming Joe Biden to the summit today 

World leaders including the outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel convened in the main summit hall at lunchtime to hear Mr Johnson deliver the opening address 

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland, was among those leaders in the audience listening to the Prime Minister

‘And the clock is ticking to the furious rhythm of hundreds of billions of pistons and turbines and furnaces and engines with which we are pumping carbon into the air faster and faster, record outputs quilting the Earth in an invisible and suffocating blanket of CO2, raising the temperature of the pkanet with a speed and an abruptness that is entirely man made. 

‘We know what the scientists tell us and we have learned not to ignore them. Two degrees more and we jeopardise the food supply for hundreds of millions of people as crops wither, locusts swarm. 

‘Three degrees and you can add more wildfires and cyclones, twice as many, five times as many droughts and 36 times as many heat waves. 

‘Four degrees and we say goodbye to whole cities – Miami, Alexandria, Shanghai – all lost beneath the waves. 

‘And the longer we fail to act, the worse it gets and he higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act because humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It is one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock and we need to act now.’ 

Mr Johnson said that the current crop of world leaders will be judged harshly by future generations if they fail to agree a deal to restrict global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees.  

He said: ‘If we fail they will not forgive us. They will know that Glasgow was the historic turning point when history failed to turn.

What are the key aims at COP26? 

  • Secure commitments on cutting emissions by 2030 and reaching Net Zero as close to 2050 as possible.
  • Keep alive hopes of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.
  • Phase out unabated coal power stations, drum up investment in renewable energy.
  • Strike deals on reducing deforestation.  
  • Rack up $100billion in climate finance pledges.
  • Finalise rules to implement the Paris Agreement.   

 

‘They will judge us with bitterness and with a resentment that eclipses any of the climate activists of today. And they will be right.’

Mr Johnson closed his speech by telling his counterparts that they have a ‘duty’ to work together to make COP26 the moment when they begin to finally ‘defuse the bomb’ of climate change. 

He said: ‘We may not feel much like James Bond, not all of us necessarily look like James Bond, but we have the opportunity and we have the duty to make this summit the moment when humanity finally began, and I stress began, to defuse that bomb and to make this the moment when we began irrefutably to turn the tide and to begin the fight back against climate change.’ 

Hopes of the summit delivering a major breakthrough have been hit hard by the absence of President Xi and President Putin. 

In a round of interviews this morning, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK is ‘putting a lot of pressure’ on the two leaders regardless of their decision not to attend.

She told BBC Breakfast: ‘Both of those leaders are sending senior delegations to Glasgow so there will be representation in person here in Glasgow.

‘The Prime Minister has spoken to both Vladimir Putin and President Xi, we’re putting a lot of pressure on those countries.

‘Because in order to tackle climate change it needs to be global action and those countries are high emitters of carbon dioxide.’

Ms Truss also defended the huge carbon toll of world leaders – including US president Joe Biden – flying to Glasgow to talk in person.

‘I think everybody who has ever done a Zoom call knows that they are quite useful for some things but when you really get into crunch negotiations, when you want to look somebody in the eye and talk to them face-to-face you do need to meet in person, and this is really critical,’ she said.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are pictured arriving for the Cop26 summit at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow

French president Emmanuel Macron gestures to the Prime Minister as they chat on Monday morning as the climate change summit kicks off

Boris Johnson has told world leaders at the start of the COP26 summit that they can no longer afford to delay taking major action to address climate change as he warned ‘the longer we fail to act, the worse it gets’

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (centre) poses for a photograph during her meeting with climate activists Vanessa Nakate (right) and Greta Thunberg (left) during the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference

‘World leaders are going to have to make some tough decisions about what’s going on in their own countries, they’re going to have to commit to things they didn’t necessarily want to when they arrived at the conference and that’s why it’s really important that we do have people face-to-face.’ 

As Government representatives gathered inside the Glasgow venue tonight Greta Thunberg denounced world leaders for failing to act on climate change to her fellow Cop26 protesters today. 

US President Joe Biden, Germany’s Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France are among those gathering at the event in an attempt to foster international cooperation on climate change.

Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, today accused countries of ‘treating nature like a toilet’ as he warned of a looming ‘climate catastrophe’.

Naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough asked attendees: ‘Is this how our story is due to end – a tale of the smartest species doomed by that all-too-human characteristic of failing to see the bigger picture in pursuit of short-term goals?’

And Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said the outcome of the climate summit would be ‘life or death for millions of people’, suggesting that failure to act could be worse than leaders who ignored warnings about the Nazis in the 1930s – a comment he later apologised for.

COP26 delegates forced to FLY to Glasgow after a SINGLE fallen tree causes travel chaos at London Euston

Mayhem at London’s Euston Station continued today after a single tree fell and damaged overhead wires causing travel chaos for delegates trying to reach the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Pendolino climate train left London Euston on time this morning but other delegates were forced to fly to Glasgow and passengers spent the night on the floor after heavy winds brought a tree down on top of overhead lines.  

Delays continued this morning after the single tree fell between between Rugby and Milton Keynes on the West Coast Main Line. Network Rail said its teams spent the night on site near Long Buckby in Northamptonshire. 

One journalist travelling to the COP26 climate summit was quoted almost £1,000 for a taxi between Edinburgh and Glasgow after battling train cancellations. 

Another CEO delegate, who took to a plane to reach the climate change summit, said the irony of having to choose the carbon-heavy option after extreme weather affected the trains ‘was not lost’ on him.  

Meanwhile, Mr Khan wrote on Twitter: ‘Delighted to lead a delegation of mayors from across the globe from London to Glasgow on our special electric Pendolino climate train. Per capita passenger emissions are estimated to be seven times lower than flying.’ 

Delays continued this morning even after engineers worked overnight to repair the damaged wires and Network Rail last night admitted ‘extreme weather’ had ‘got the better of us’. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson arrived at Glasgow International Airport at 11.30pm last night after flying straight from the G20 summit in Rome, Italy.

And the chaos didn’t stop with Britain’s rail network, as thousands of attendees battled against lengthy immovable queues through security this morning. One bystander joked the conference would be a disaster because no one would be there until the second day.  

Speaking at a demonstration at Festival Park, Glasgow, on the first day of the Cop26 summit, Swedish 18-year-old activist Miss Thunberg said that heads of government were not doing enough to save the planet from disaster.

She said: ‘No more blah blah blah, no more whatever the f*** they are doing inside there.

‘Inside Cop, there are just politicians and people in power pretending to take our future seriously, pretending to take the present seriously. Change is not going to come from inside there, that is not leadership – this is leadership… We say no more blah blah blah, no more exploitation of people and the planet.’

Miss Thunberg arrived in Glasgow on Sunday by train and will take part in two large protests through the city later in the week. 

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today met with Miss Thunberg at Cop26, following the Swedish environmental activist’s arrival in Scotland on Saturday.

On Monday morning, Ms Thunberg along with fellow campaigner Vanessa Nakate, from Uganda, met with the First Minister, who tweeted: ‘The voices of young people like @GretaThunberg and @vanessa-vash must be heard loudly and clearly at Cop26 – the next few days should not be comfortable for leaders, the responsibility to act must be felt.’

Ms Thunberg has previously been critical of the Scottish Government’s climate policy, saying that the country was ‘not a leader on climate change’, as the First Minister had previously stated.

Scotland has pledged to cut emissions by 75% by 2030 and be net zero by 2045, but the last three years of targets have been missed. 

Nicola Sturgeon has said that world leaders gathering in Glasgow for the Cop26 climate summit should feel ‘bloody uncomfortable’ for not ‘doing enough’ to tackle global warming.

Ms Sturgeon, speaking as the crucial summit began, insisted: ‘Every climate promise must be kept. Frankly none of them are being kept right now.’

Speaking at an event hosted by the environmental organisation WWF, she told how she had just met Ms Thunberg and another young climate activist, Vanessa Nakate from Uganda.

Ms Sturgeon said: ‘Those voices often, including for me, are really uncomfortable at times, because they make us confront the hard realities of our own lack of delivery.

‘But my goodness they are so important to shake the gatherings that will take place here over the next few days out of the sense of complacency that surrounds them all too often.’

She continued: ‘If we only face up to the easy, relatively easy things we won’t get anywhere. This has to be a moment that leaders, all of us, whether we are round that negotiating table or not, are held to account for the reality of what we promise not for the rhetoric of it.’

With leaders of more than 100 countries gathering in Glasgow for the talks, Ms Sturgeon urged campaigners to ‘make life really uncomfortable for any government, any leader that is not doing enough’.

She added: ‘We have all got to be pushed much harder much faster. This summit should not feel comfortable for anybody in a position of leadership and responsibility, it should feel bloody uncomfortable because nobody yet is doing enough, that is the reality.’ 

Ahead of the summit, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that failure in Glasgow could mean that the Paris agreement from 2015 – in which leaders promised to work towards keeping global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees – would ‘crumple’.

Mr Johnson said: ‘If Glasgow fails, than the whole thing fails.

‘The Paris Agreement will have crumpled at the first reckoning.’

One scrubs up well! Kate Middleton dazzles in a custom blue Eponine coat dress next to dapper Prince William as pair attend Earthshot reception at Cop26 just hours after getting muddy with the Scouts

Kate Middleton looked the picture of poise in a the coat dress and navy heels as she walked alongside Prince William in a dapper suit as they arrived at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum just hours after getting her hands dirty as she threw mud with Scouts in the Scottish city. 

Wearing her hair back in a low bun, the Duchess opted for a glamorous make-up look for the ceremony tonight where she was hosted Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Boris Johnson as well as key members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the winners and finalists of the first Earthshot Prize Awards.

Her custom dress came from Eponine’s SS20 collection and made from a double wool crepe fabric, the price is available on application but similar items cost around £2400.

The Duchess of Cambridge proved she scrubbed up well tonight as she swapped her muddy outdoor outfit for a dazzling evening gown to attend the Earthshot reception at Cop26 in Glasgow tonight.

Not so sure! William didn’t look pleased as his wife offered him a tub of dead larvae

Relaxed royal! Kate laughs as she offers a tub of dead larvae, used as livestock feed, to guests at a reception

Kate Middleton looked the picture of poise in a blue coat dress and navy heels as she walked alongside Prince William in a dapper suit.

William and Kate joined Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall for the ceremony in Glasgow this evening

Although it’s believed the royal hasn’t worn the dress in public before, it’s likely it’s not new as the collection is 18 months old. 

The duchess added a touch of glam with dazzling diamond earrings and a poppy badge ahead of Remembrance Sunday. 

Meanwhile, Camilla, 74, opted for a teal Bruce Oldfield featuring buttons recycled from another outfit while Prince Charles 

William and Kate’s appearance comes just hours after royal couple, both 39, visited Alexandra Park Sports Hub in Dennistoun to meet with Scouts from and learn more about the group’s’ #PromiseToThePlanet campaign.

The event marked the first engagement for the couple since they arrived in the Scottish city for the COP26 conference which has brought world leaders together to discuss urgent action on climate change.

Kate dressed down in black jeans, a black polo neck a khaki green gilet, her favourite pair of £250 See by Chloe boots and a Scouts woggle to meet Cub and Beaver Scouts this afternoon. 

The Duchess, who previously volunteered with the Scouts and was a Brownie growing up, appeared in good spirits during the outdoor engagement as she beamed and threw dirt as part of a ‘wild flower bombing’ bombing activity where they joined the children to throw soil packed with seeds onto a grassy bank.

The duchess added a touch of glam with dazzling diamond earrings and a poppy badge ahead of Remembrance Sunday

Wearing her hair back in a low bun, the Duchess opted for a glamorous make-up look for the ceremony tonight where she was hosted Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Boris Johnson as well as key members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the winners and finalists of the first Earthshot Prize Awards.

William and Katespeak with guests at a reception for the key members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the Winners and Finalists of the first Earthshot Prize Awards at the Clydeside Distillery, on the sidelines of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow

William and Katespeak with guests at a reception for the key members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the Winners and Finalists of the first Earthshot Prize Awards at the Clydeside Distillery, on the sidelines of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, speaks to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall as they attend an evening reception to mark the opening day of the COP26

Prince of Wales speaks to guests at a reception for the key members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the Winners and Finalists of the first Earthshot Prize Awards at the Clydeside Distillery

The royal dressed down in a pair of black skinny jeans, and wrapped up against the chilly weather in a green quilted gilet, a new addition to the royal wardrobe. 

The mother-of-three finished the look with her trusty brown suede See By Chloé boots, which feature leather trim detailing on a round-toe, lace-up base.

Proving her eco credentials, Kate has often worn the boots, opting for them three times last year, including for a visit to a community garden in north London in January, and to the Scouts London headquarters in March.  

The royal’s hair cascaded around her shoulder in looser tonged waves, with the emphasis on sleek and natural rather than voluminous and bouncy. 

Kate was named joint president of the Scouts last year. Kate is sharing the position – her first presidency of an organisation – with the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Kent, who has been president of the youth movement since 1975. 

Kate and Prince William could be seen beaming as they met with the group of Scouts and their parents during the outing in Glasgow today 

The couple could be seen joking with one another as they arrived for their first outing for the Cop26 conference today in Glasgow 

One of their hosts was 12-year-old Lewis Howe, one of the 26 #OneStepGreener Ambassadors recently announced by the UK Government – extraordinary, everyday people who are going above and beyond for the climate. 

Through Scouting, Lewis is taking positive action on the issues that matter to him the most and challenging all Scottish schools to reduce food waste by using surplus food to create meals for those in need using environmentally friendly packaging.

The Duke and Duchess went on to take part in activities that demonstrate how Scouting is helping to equip young people with the skills to tackle climate change.

They also learned how millions of Scouts across the globe have been contributing to the #PromiseToThePlanet campaign, raising awareness of the consequences of climate change and encouraging individual as well as collective action to address it. 

Kate was previously a volunteer with a Cub Scout pack when she and the Duke of Cambridge lived in Anglesey, North Wales.

She has carried out numerous visits to Scout groups over the years, including joining Cubs in North Wootton, near King’s Lynn in Norfolk, in 2016 to celebrate 100 years of the youth movement and visiting the Scouts’ headquarters in Gilwell Park in Essex in 2019. 

The Duke and Duchess are in Glasgow representing the crown alongside Camilla and Prince Charles.

Earlier today, The Duke of Cambridge tweeted: ‘COP26 is a landmark moment for the future of our planet — I’m proud that our @EarthshotPrize Finalists will be joining me in Glasgow to show the world that there is reason to be optimistic’.  

Prince Charles used his COP26 address to demand a ‘military-style campaign’ to mobilise trillions of dollars of private sector cash to ‘save our precious planet’.

The Duke of Cornwall said the pandemic had taught the world ‘timelines can be sped up dramatically’ when everyone ‘agrees on the urgency and the direction’.

The Duke and Duchess went on to take part in activities that demonstrate how Scouting is helping to equip young people with the skills to tackle climate change

The future king said top CEOs and businesses he had spoken to confirmed they were ready to do their part to protect the globe from climate change.

The Prince was pictured speaking to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez about climate change at Dumfries House last night.

Charles’s passionate plea for action came as he addressed world leaders at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow today.

The Royal took to the stage after an emotive video showing the devastation humans had done to the planet.

On his way up the steps Charles, 72, stumbled but managed to regain his stride before delivering his speech.

Meanwhile The Queen was out driving close to Windsor Castle today as she takes a two-week break from duties amid fears for her health after her secret overnight stay in hospital late last month.

The images of Her Majesty behind the wheel will ease concerns for the 95-year-old’s health after her aides announced on Friday that she would be taking a fortnight break from her duties on doctor’s advice. 

The appearance today comes after royal experts suggested that there could now be a ‘reassessment and possibly a slight gear change in the kind of work the Queen does’ after the monarch dramatically pulled out of attending Cop26.

Six days before the 95-year-old was due to attend a reception and give a speech at the landmark conference, Buckingham Palace said she had ‘regretfully’ decided not to go – and would instead remain at Windsor Castle.

The Queen will continue to work behind the scenes while next week’s climate change summit takes place in Glasgow and record a video message – but there could now be a change in the distances she travels in future.

It comes amid fears for the health of Queen – who will film a video message which will be broadcast to delegates in Glasgow – after she was forced to cancel a visit to Northern Ireland at the 11th hour last Wednesday.

Palace sources insisted that her decision not to travel to Scotland was simply a ‘sensible precaution’ in light of her doctor’s advice to rest and that she was determined the conference should be a success.

Another source said it would have been ‘unwise’ for the Queen to make the 800-mile round trip from Windsor to Glasgow for the major event which aims to agree crucial global action on climate change.

Royal expert Roya Nikkhah said: ‘We had some quite interesting background guidance yesterday from royal sources saying that although she’s not going to be there in person, she is going to filming this video address this week and she is going to be working behind the scenes to make sure there are meaningful actions.

‘And I thought what was really interesting was the guidance we had that she’s very keen that other world leaders and heads of state don’t use her absence as an excuse not to attend. So she’s following it very, very closely.’

Ms Nikkah, royal editor of the Sunday Times, who was speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, added: ‘It’s quite a trip for a 95-year-old and she’s had this incredibly packed both public and private diary for a few weeks, which has obviously left her pretty tired. 

‘And I think the feeling probably was – we don’t know, because we’re not doctors – but the feeling probably was from her doctors it was a little bit much for her to go up and do all that.

‘And it’s not just the travel – it’s also being on. It’s also entertaining and hosting world leaders, talking to them about climate change and all of that – I think the feeling probably is that’s just a little bit too much at the moment until she’s back to full strength.’ 

She continued: ‘I think there will be a reassessment and possibly a slight gear change in the kind of work the Queen does, the distances she travels, but I don’t think we will see – all being well, if the Queen is able to continue with public duties as we hope that she will be – I think we will still see her out and about as much as she and her doctors feel she can.

‘I think there will be a gear change, and her private secretaries and her diary secretaries looking at engagements that come in and thinking what does Her Majesty the Queen really need to be at, and what does she feel she really can do.

‘So I think there will be a constant review going forwards now.’

Last week, a Buckingham 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, November 1. Her Majesty is disappointed not to attend the reception but will deliver an address to the assembled delegates via a recorded video message.’

The palace has still not explained why the Queen was taken to hospital last week.

After it was announced she had cancelled the Northern Ireland visit, the palace initially said the monarch was resting at Windsor. It was only 36 hours later, after news had leaked out, that a spokesman confirmed she had been admitted to King Edward VII’s hospital in London for ‘preliminary investigations’.

Aides had hoped that the head of state would be well enough to lead the Royal Family at the summit, either in person or via video-link. And earlier on Tuesday she returned to work at Windsor, where she is resting on doctors’ orders, for the first time since last week.

Prince Charles has demanded a ‘military-style campaign’ to mobilise trillions of dollars of private sector cash to ‘save our precious planet’

The pictures show her face on a computer screen as she greeted the new ambassador from the Republic of Korea, Gunn Kim, who was at Buckingham Palace. She also spoke to the new Swiss ambassador, Markus Leitner.

The Queen’s decision not to attend Cop26 will be a blow to organisers. There are few people on the world stage who command the same respect and authority as the British monarch. 

With the head of state missing from the event, it is hoped no world leaders will use her absence as a reason not to attend the summit.

It previously emerged that Xi Jinping – president of China, now the planet’s biggest polluter – is skipping the much-anticipated conference.

The Royal Family will still be represented by the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge – both of whom have strong environmental campaigning credentials – as well as the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Senior royal aides said the Queen will be working hard behind the scenes to make the summit a success.

She will film her video message at Windsor Castle later this week and has let it be known that she ‘very much wants Cop26 to be a success and see meaningful actions’.  

FLOP 26: Boris tells COP that the ‘doomsday device’ is real and it is ‘one minute to midnight’ to stop climate disaster – but Xi Jinping will not even give ‘virtual’ speech after snub and Turkish President stays away 

Boris Johnson has told world leaders at the start of the COP26 summit that they can no longer afford to delay taking major action to address climate change as he warned ‘the longer we fail to act, the worse it gets’. 

The Prime Minister compared the situation facing the globe to the climax of a James Bond film where the hero has to thwart plans to blow up the planet. 

But Mr Johnson said ‘this is not a movie’ and the ‘doomsday device is real’ as he urged his counterparts to do more to reduce harmful emissions. 

The premier said the longer countries wait to take action then ‘the higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act’. 

He said the world has ‘long since run the clock down on climate change’ and there is now just ‘one minute to midnight’, with action required immediately to prevent a global disaster.   

The PM used his speech at the opening of the summit as a rallying cry to try to build momentum as he welcomed foreign leaders to Glasgow after securing only lukewarm climate commitments at the G20 summit in Rome over the weekend. 

However, hopes for the UN event have suffered fresh setbacks, after it emerged that China’s president Xi Jinping will not even give a ‘virtual’ speech, instead only submitting a written statement.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan also announced he will not be coming, despite attending the G20. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, both in charge of big polluters, have declined to attend.

Meanwhile, the organisation of the conference has come under fire after thousands of delegates were forced to wait hours to get through shambolic security systems this morning.

Mr Johnson pledged in his lunchtime speech to put another billion pounds into green finance – as long as the UK economy performs as expected in the coming years.

The PM repeated he wants global leaders to unveil steps on ‘coal, cars, cash and trees’ – the things he believes will make the most different in limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. 

Mr Johnson had set the tone as the G20 wrapped up last night by reading the riot act to his fellow world leaders, saying their promises on tackling climate change are starting to ‘sound hollow’.

The PM said there are ‘no compelling excuses for our procrastination’ on reducing harmful emissions and action already taken amounts to ‘drops in a rapidly warming ocean’.

Mr Johnson (left) and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (right) greet India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26

Mr Johnson and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres chatted to Iceland’s Prime Minister Katri­n Jakobsdottir as she made her appearance at the venue in Glasgow


Mr Johnson greets Comoros’ President Azali Assoumani, left, and St Lucia’s Prime Minister Philip Joseph Pierre, right

Mr Johnson’s warnings came as:

  • One of the biggest security operations ever mounted in Britain got underway in Glasgow, amid warnings that climate protesters plan serious disruption; 
  • A report by the UN’s weather agency warned that sea levels were now rising twice as fast as in the 1990s; 
  • The PM told French president Emmanuel Macron to drop threats to penalise Britain, as environmentalists warned a growing spat over fishing rights risked overshadowing the climate summit; 
  • Ministers are closing in on a deal to end deforestation by paying poorer countries not to fell trees; 
  • Tina Stege, climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, warned that the Pacific archipelago could disappear underwater unless the Glasgow summit achieves its aims;
  • Climate poster girl Greta Thunberg backed direct action groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain, saying it was necessary to ‘anger some people’ to get the message through.

Mr Johnson welcomed world leaders to Scotland by telling them that the country’s most famous fictional son is James Bond. 

The PM said the fictional hero ‘generally comes to the climax of his highly lucrative films strapped to a doomsday device, desperately trying to work out which coloured wire to pull to turn it off while a red digital clock ticks down remorselessly to a detonation that will end human life as we know it’. 

Addressing the packed summit hall, he said: ‘And we are in roughly the same position, my fellow global leaders, as James Bond today. Except that the tragedy is this is not a movie and the doomsday device is real. 

‘And the clock is ticking to the furious rhythm of hundreds of billions of pistons and turbines and furnaces and engines with which we are pumping carbon into the air faster and faster, record outputs quilting the Earth in an invisible and suffocating blanket of CO2, raising the temperature of the pkanet with a speed and an abruptness that is entirely man made. 

‘We know what the scientists tell us and we have learned not to ignore them. Two degrees more and we jeopardise the food supply for hundreds of millions of people as crops wither, locusts swarm. 

‘Three degrees and you can add more wildfires and cyclones, twice as many, five times as many droughts and 36 times as many heat waves. 

‘Four degrees and we say goodbye to whole cities – Miami, Alexandria, Shanghai – all lost beneath the waves. 

‘And the longer we fail to act, the worse it gets and he higher the price when we are eventually forced by catastrophe to act because humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change. It is one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock and we need to act now.’ 

Mr Johnson said that the current crop of world leaders will be judged harshly by future generations if they fail to agree a deal to restrict global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees.  

He said: ‘If we fail they will not forgive us. They will know that Glasgow was the historic turning point when history failed to turn.

‘They will judge us with bitterness and with a resentment that eclipses any of the climate activists of today. And they will be right.’

Mr Johnson closed his speech by telling his counterparts that they have a ‘duty’ to work together to make COP26 the moment when they begin to finally ‘defuse the bomb’ of climate change. 

He said: ‘We may not feel much like James Bond, not all of us necessarily look like James Bond, but we have the opportunity and we have the duty to make this summit the moment when humanity finally began, and I stress began, to defuse that bomb and to make this the moment when we began irrefutably to turn the tide and to begin the fight back against climate change.’ 

Hopes of the summit delivering a major breakthrough have been hit hard by the absence of President Xi and President Putin.  

In a round of interviews this morning, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK is ‘putting a lot of pressure’ on the two leaders regardless of their decision not to attend.

She told BBC Breakfast: ‘Both of those leaders are sending senior delegations to Glasgow so there will be representation in person here in Glasgow.

‘The Prime Minister has spoken to both Vladimir Putin and President Xi, we’re putting a lot of pressure on those countries.

‘Because in order to tackle climate change it needs to be global action and those countries are high emitters of carbon dioxide.’

Ms Truss also defended the huge carbon toll of world leaders – including US president Joe Biden – flying to Glasgow to talk in person.

‘I think everybody who has ever done a Zoom call knows that they are quite useful for some things but when you really get into crunch negotiations, when you want to look somebody in the eye and talk to them face-to-face you do need to meet in person, and this is really critical,’ she said.

Mr Johnson greets Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba during arrivals at the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow,

Mr Johnson welcomes Slovenia’s Prime Minister Janez Jansa at the COP26 summit at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow

The PM has been welcoming foreign premiers to the gathering in Glasgow alongside the UN Secretary General as he desperately tries to get momentum – after securing only lukewarm commitments at the G20 summit in Rome over the weekend

Boris Johnson greets Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari as they arrive for day two of COP26 at SECC in Glasgow this morning

‘World leaders are going to have to make some tough decisions about what’s going on in their own countries, they’re going to have to commit to things they didn’t necessarily want to when they arrived at the conference and that’s why it’s really important that we do have people face-to-face.’ 

However, the praise of face-to-face engagement rang a little hollow for many attempting to get into the summit veune this morning.  

Delegates have already needed to go through a detailed accreditation process, including getting an official letter stating they are registered and using an app to verify their visual ID.

They must also present evidence of a negative Covid lateral flow test taken today.

But those arriving at the SEC today were confronted with enormous queues at various layers of security – starting with the gates checking letters, then security screening, and then to pick up accreditation passes in person.

There was a particular bottleneck at security, as delegates who had collected accreditation yesterday were forced to wait in huge lines along with new arrivals.

Many found themselves held up  for well over 90 minutes – with complaints that meetings were being missed and anger at the shambolic organisation.

It comes on top of travel chaos yesterday with trains cancelled from London due to Halloween storms. Meanwhile, Glasgow is embarrassingly in the throes of a bin collection strike and there are reports of a surge in the rat population.   

Mr Johnson is expected to say later: ‘Humanity has long since run down the clock on climate change.

‘It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now.

‘If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.’ 

He will add: ‘We have to move from talk and debate and discussion to concerted, real-world action on coal, cars, cash and trees.

‘Not more hopes and targets and aspirations, valuable though they are, but clear commitments and concrete timetables for change.

‘We need to get real about climate change and the world needs to know when that’s going to happen.’ 

The PM will be backed by Prince Charles, who will also speak at the opening, telling leaders: ‘We have to put ourselves on what might be called a war-like footing.’

He will go on to urge nations to systematically engage with business to solve the climate problems we face, adding: ‘We need a vast military-style campaign to marshal the strength of the global private sector, with trillions at its disposal.’ 

Many leaders were travelling from the G20 summit in Rome. These countries are responsible for an estimated 80 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. 

Mr Johnson had hoped for a ‘G20 bounce’ as a stepping stone to a deal in Glasgow. 

But leaders rejected his call to commit to going carbon neutral by 2050. A bid to ban the construction of new coal-fired power stations was also blocked. 

Speaking at the G20 summit in Rome, the PM said that only 12 of the club’s members have committed to reaching a target of net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier. 

Dramatically raising the stakes, he said that if the forthcoming gathering in Glasgow fails to secure a major breakthrough ‘then the whole thing fails’. 

President Joe Biden waves as he gets off his plane on a cold day at Edinburgh Airport, before he heads to Glasgow for the summit

Glasgow Airport arrivals for the COP26 sees the Germans onboard an Airbus with Chancellor Angela Merkel taking the lead

Mr Johnson said world leaders must now flesh out the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, warning that failing to do so will leave ‘the world’s only viable mechanism for dealing with climate change… holed beneath the water line’. 

The premier escalated his rhetoric amid fears the summit in Glasgow will be a flop after the G20 watered down its Net Zero ambition to ‘by or around mid-century’.

The PM has been trying to use the Rome summit of powerful nations including China and Russia to build momentum ahead of COP26, which formally got underway this afternoon and will see world leaders meet for talks tomorrow.  

But although the communique from the G20 backed urgent action, it gave more wriggle-room for emissions to continue, with an original goal of ‘2050’ replaced by looser language. 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the G20 summit had not gone far enough in advancing climate goals but he still believed in the leaders heading to Scotland.

‘While I welcome the G20’s recommitment to global solutions, I leave Rome with my hopes unfulfilled – but at least they are not buried,’ he said.

More than 120 leaders are expected to attend today’s summit in Glasgow, which kicks off a fortnight of intense negotiations designed to secure a global deal on cutting emissions. 

Mr Biden and Indian PM Narendra Modi are among the major figures due to take part.

But, in a sign of the global divisions on the issue, the leaders of several major polluting nations have turned down invitations.  

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday publicly rejected Mr Johnson’s bid to get the entire world to commit to becoming ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050.

Mr Johnson has already admitted that he was stonewalled by China’s Xi Jinping in a call when he suggested the giant economy should aim for carbon output to peak by 2025 instead of 2030. 

Speaking at the G20 summit, Mr Lavrov said Moscow was targeting a 2060 date, adding: ‘No one has proved to us that 2050 is something we must all subscribe to.’ 

China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, is also resisting pressure to go carbon neutral before 2060, with president Xi rebutting a personal plea from Mr Johnson last week.

And a hoped-for deal to phase out the construction of new coal-fired power stations by 2030 fell apart. Major coal users including China, India, Australia and Russia are said to have blocked the deal.

Asked about the chances of success at Cop26 last night, the PM said: ‘I think it’s sort of six out of ten. It’s a bit of nip and tuck and touch and go. We could do it or we could fail by the middle of November.’    

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