The Daily Telegraph
Green concerns will be ‘highlighted’ but campaigning is out
Ardent environmentalist will still have a voice but tone must be different, say palace insiders
THE King will continue to champion the environment while on the throne, palace sources indicated.
However, he will “highlight” issues rather than campaign in the manner he has done for decades.
It comes after His Majesty had a telephone conversation with Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday, during which the French president “signalled his full willingness” to continue their collaborative work “starting with the protection of the climate and the planet”.
The King will no longer travel to the Cop27 summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh, in November, when he was due to push his own green agenda, The Daily Telegraph has confirmed.
Upcoming tours of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have also been scrapped. Instead, the King is expected to make his first official state visit to “one of our nearest neighbours” within weeks.
The last overseas state visit by a reigning British monarch took place in 2015, when the Queen spent three days in Malta with the Duke of Edinburgh.
The King’s first foreign visit was previously expected to take in one of the 14 Commonwealth realms but the plan was considered to be too ambitious at short notice.
He was scheduled to open a forum on sustainability at the UN climate change conference after last year’s launch of the Terra Carta, his 10-year “recovery plan” for the private sector.
Royal sources said the King’s passion for the environment and commitment to the cause would not diminish, noting that it was widely known and not hugely controversial.
What he does about those views is “a different matter” and an issue that his advisers will address between them in the coming weeks and months. One acknowledged that it might appear odd for the King to suddenly stop talking about a subject on which he has campaigned for five decades.
“There is a difference between highlighting and championing, particularly when championing specific policies,” the source said.
“He will not campaign on the issue but he is still a great convener and can still bring people together.”
Another insider said it would not be impossible for the King to attend events such as Cop27 in the future but that he would have to take a different approach.
”The way he engages with them would have to change,” they said.
The source said a line would have been drawn through any future plans already in the King’s diary from when he was Prince of Wales, with new visits scheduled, prioritising Commonwealth realms likely to include Canada or Australia and New Zealand.
Other senior members of the Royal family, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, will be similarly deployed. “Who goes where is extremely important,” the source said.
“Overseas visits for the now King and Queen will be very carefully considered not just by Buckingham Palace but also by the Government.
“Suddenly, the UK has an additional card to play in overseas diplomacy.
“These are visits that are about strengthening bonds with other countries; important when travelling as the Prince of Wales but vital as head of state.”
The King, who was often accused of meddling in public affairs, acknowledged in his first televised address to the nation last Friday that he would step back from his campaigning and charity work that shaped his life as heir to the throne.
“My life will of course change as I take up my new responsibilities,” he said.
“It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others.”
‘He will not campaign on climate change but he is still a great convener and can still bring people together’