The Queen has issued a rally to world leaders who attended Cop26 calling on them to “work together on the common case” to tackle climate change and “solve the most insurmountable problems.”
In a video message played during a welcome reception for the presidents and prime ministers, she hoped that the legacy of the summit would be their recognition that “the time to speak is now the time to act”.
The Queen warmly paid tribute to “my dear late husband” the Duke of Edinburgh for his environmental awareness when he raised the issue more than 50 years ago.
In a rare public expression of his emotions, the monarch said it was a “source of great pride” he played in encouraging people to care for nature and that she “couldn’t be more proud” of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge who has continued his work.
In recognition of her own mortality, the Queen, whose health was a concern after she decided not to attend the Glasgow conference, when doctors advised them to rest, said not all of the actions of the Leaders would benefit as “none of us will live forever”.
But any determination to face the planet’s environmental problems would benefit “our children”.
Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge listened to their message, which was recorded at Windsor Castle on Friday.
The Queen said, “In the days to come, the world has a chance to join in the common goal of creating a safer and more stable future for our people and the planet on which we depend.
“Neither of us underestimates the challenges ahead: But history has shown that there is always room for hope when nations come together. Side by side we have the ability to solve the most insurmountable problems and conquer the greatest adversities. “
The Head of State added, “For my part, I hope this conference will be one of the rare occasions where everyone has the chance to rise above current politics and achieve true statecraft.
“Many hope that the legacy of this summit – written in history books yet to be printed – will describe you as the leaders who did not miss the opportunity; and that you have answered the call of these future generations.
“That you left this conference as a community of nations with a determination, desire and plan to address the effects of climate change; and to recognize that the time of the word has now passed into the time of action. “
Philip was an environmentalist before the word was widely used, and he advocated nature long before it was fashionable.
He was president of the WWF – World Wildlife Fund – from 1981 to 1996 and is known to drive an eco-friendly taxi through the streets of London decades before green vehicles were widespread.
The Queen wore a butterfly brooch while she spoke, in front of a photo of Philip admiring butterflies in Mexico in 1988.
In her message, the Queen said she was pleased to welcome the delegates as “the impact of the environment on human progress” was a matter of concern to Philip.
She added: “I well remember him telling an academic meeting in 1969, ‘If the pollution situation is not critical at the moment, it is as certain as possible that the situation will become increasingly unbearable in no time … If we do this Failure to master the challenge, all other problems will fade into insignificance. “
“I am very proud that the leadership my husband has played in encouraging people to protect our fragile planet continues through the work of our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William. I couldn’t be more proud of her. “
William recently held the first ever awards ceremony for his Environmental Earthshot Prize, which aims to find solutions to the world’s problems like providing clean air or getting rid of plastic from the ocean.
While Charles has spent much of his adult life highlighting the threat to the environment from human activity and trying to mitigate it.
The young activist Greta Thunberg, who inspired a generation of young people around the world with her climate strikes, joined the youth climate protests outside the “blue zone” where the leaders met.
The Queen added: “… I have drawn great comfort and inspiration from the relentless enthusiasm of people of all ages – especially the young – in calling on everyone to do their part.”
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