King Charles III appeared to ‘bypass’ Prime Minister Rishi Sunak by hosting a special COP27 reception at Buckingham Palace, a royal commentator has claimed. The monarch greeted guests at the palace ahead of the UN climate change conference COP27 kicking off on Sunday in Egypt.
Former Prime Minister Liz Truss had asked the sovereign not to attend the conference, and that her successor had maintained this belief, Downing Street confirmed.
Number 10 said last month it was not the “right opportunity” for the monarch to do too much.
King Charles is well known for his vocal campaign on climate issues, and a source previously told The Times that the monarch was “rushing to attend” the conference.
He gave a keynote speech at last year’s COP26 event in Glasgow, accompanied by Prince William, Kate and Camilla.
The Sovereign’s reception on Friday included US climate envoy John Kerry, designer and activist Stella McCartney, as well as Mr Sunak himself.
After the reception, royal commentator Daniela Elser described the event as the monarch “coming dangerously close to publicly challenging [the] new prime minister.
Writing in the New Zealand Herald, she called Friday’s speech to gathered NGOs, politicians and activists a “cunning” choice which suggests the ruler “has apparently decided to circumvent Sunak by bringing him much of the meeting on climate”.
A Number 10 spokesperson said Mr Sunak had not been in post long enough to make the proper arrangements for the monarch to travel to the North African country for COP27.
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The summit was billed as a “watershed moment” with more than 120 world leaders.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was at No 10 for the previous conference, said he would attend the conference at