Queen urges world leaders at COP26 to ‘rise above politics’
LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II urged world leaders attending the U.N. climate summit to “rise above the politics of the moment,” saying in a video message Monday that she hoped they could work together for the sake of future generations.
The 95-year-old monarch had been expected to attend the Glasgow meeting, but she had to cancel the trip after doctors said she should rest and not travel. The queen recently underwent medical checks and spent the night at a London hospital -- her first hospital stay in years.
In the video message, recorded last week at Windsor Castle and played Monday during a welcoming reception for presidents and prime ministers, the queen said many people hoped leaders at the summit “recognize that the time for words has now moved to the time for action.”
“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,” she said. “History has shown that when nations come together in common cause, there is always room for hope.”
In a tribute to Prince Philip, “my dear late husband,” the queen said she was happy to welcome the delegates because the environment was a subject close to Philip’s heart. In a rare public display of emotion, she said she “could not be more proud” that Philip’s environmental efforts live on through the work of their eldest son, Prince Charles, and his son Prince William.
The monarch, who has reigned for 70 years, closed with a poignant line about future generations.
“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,” she said. “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.”
The queen has long enjoyed robust health, but her health recently became the subject of headlines after she reluctantly accepted medical advice to cut back on her busy schedule and stick to “desk-based duties” and virtual audiences for two weeks.
In late October she cancelled a two-day trip to Northern Ireland, but palace officials said it was her “firm intention” to attend Remembrance Sunday ceremonies on Nov. 14, a major event on the sovereign’s calendar.
Buckingham Palace said the queen stayed overnight in a central London hospital last week for “preliminary investigations,” in her first such hospital stay in eight years.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday that the queen “was on very good form” during their regular weekly meeting.