Buckingham Palace confirmed on Sunday that King Charles III will not appear at an international climate change summit in Egypt next month despite the monarch’s long-standing involvement in environmental advocacy. The statement came after reports that the British prime minister had advised against attending.
The news fuels speculation that Charles will have to rein in his environmental activism now that he has ascended the throne.
The Palace’s confirmation came after The Sunday Times reported that Conservative Prime Minister Liz Truss objected to Charles attending the conference, known as COP27, when she met the king last month at Buckingham Palace. The Times report claimed that Truss’s advice had influenced the king’s plans. King Charles has attended the conference in the past.
But a Truss cabinet member said the government and the palace were in agreement on the decision.
“This is an amicable decision, as far as I know, between the palace and the government,” Simon Clarke told Times Radio. “Suggestions this morning that he was ordered to stay away are simply not true.”
Clarke also rejected suggestions that Truss did not want Charles to attend the summit because he intends to weaken Britain’s climate targets. The government remains committed to achieving its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, he said.
The Palace echoed Clarke’s comments in a statement to the BBC.
“With mutual friendship and respect it has been agreed that the King will not attend,” the Palace said, according to the BBC.
Under the rules governing Britain’s constitutional monarchy, the king is prohibited from interfering in politics. By convention, all official visits by members of the royal family abroad take place in accordance with government advice.
Before he became king whenOn September 8, there was speculation that Charles would travel to the summit in his then role as Prince of Wales.
King Charles attended the previous climate summit, COP26, last year in Glasgow, Scotland, but his attendance at this year’s conference was never confirmed. COP27 takes place November 16-18 in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
When he was Prince of Wales, Charles was accused of meddling in government affairs, including allegations that he exerted undue pressure on government ministers.
But Charles is now king and has acknowledged that he will have less freedom to speak about public issues as monarch than as heir to the throne. At the same time, his advisers would be looking for a suitable time and place for Charles’ first trip abroad as sovereign.
“My life will, of course, change as I take on my new responsibilities,” Charles said in a televised address after his mother’s death.
“It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energy to charities and issues I care so deeply about. But I know this important work will continue in the trusted hands of others.”