The Queen has issued a rallying cry to world leaders attending Cop26 urging them to work together in “common cause” to tackle climate change and “solve the most insurmountable problems”.
In a video message played during a welcoming reception for presidents and prime ministers, she hoped the summit’s legacy would be that they recognised “the time for words has now moved to the time for action”.
The Queen paid a heartfelt tribute to “my dear late husband” the Duke of Edinburgh for his environmental awareness in raising the issue more than 50 years ago.
In a rare public expression of emotion, the monarch said it was a “source of great pride” the important role he played in encouraging people to look after the natural world, and she “could not be more proud” of the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge who have continued his work.
Acknowledging her own mortality, the Queen, whose health has caused concern after she decided not to attend the Glasgow conference when advised by doctors to rest, said not all would benefit from the leaders’ actions as “none of us will live forever”.
But any determination to confront the planet’s environmental problems would benefit “our children’s children”.
Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge listened to her message which was recorded on Friday at Windsor Castle.
The Queen said: “In the coming days, the world has the chance to join in the shared objective of creating a safer, stabler future for our people and for the planet on which we depend.
“None of us underestimates the challenges ahead: but history has shown that when nations come together in common cause, there is always room for hope. Working side by side, we have the ability to solve the most insurmountable problems and to triumph over the greatest of adversities.”
The head of state added: “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.