The Royal Family and COP26

Members of The Royal Family are supporting the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, which is currently taking place in Glasgow.


This year’s event is the 26th UN annual global climate summit, which are known as ‘COPs’ – which stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’. The 2021 event has the UK as President and members of The Royal Family are taking part in a number of events in support of COP26’s ambition to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change. 

Monday 1 November

To mark the opening day of the Conference, The Queen addressed the delegates at the Evening Reception, which included leaders from across the world, with a video message: 

The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge all attended the reception, which followed a full day of events in support of the two-week conference.  

The Prince of Wales, who for over 50 years has been a campaigner for greater sustainability, earlier delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of COP26: 

Following the Opening Ceremony, The Prince also held a number of bilateral meetings with world leaders, including the Prime Minister of India, the President of Colombia, the President of Slovakia, the President of France and the Prime Minister of Barbados.

In support of the Scouts #PromiseToThePlanet campaign, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid a visit to a local Scout Group in Glasgow to see how the organisation is helping to equip young people with the skills to tackle climate change.  

Alongside President Macron of France and President Ghazouani of Mauritania, The Prince of Wales co-hosted a session to discuss the Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative. The GGW is a movement with an ambition to bring back to life Africa’s degraded landscapes to provide food security and jobs for millions. 

Together The Prince of Wales and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also hosted a reception for the key members of the Sustainable Markets Initiative and the winners of the Earthshot Prize. 

Elsewhere, The Duchess of Cornwall visited a local primary school to find out more about how climate change and sustainability are seen as a key focus of their learning.  

Tuesday 2 November

On the second day of COP26, The Prince of Wales met representatives from Indigenous People’s groups ahead of the Action on Forests and Land Use Event, which provided a platform for leaders to commit to ambitious action that will halt and reverse forest loss.

The virtuous circle of Nature is something the world’s indigenous peoples hold sacred and understand only too well, and is why we should listen to, and learn from, their profound intuitive wisdom. - The Prince of Wales' speech at the World Leaders Action on Forests and Land Use Event 

His Royal Highness then hosted a Commonwealth Leaders’ Reception, which brought together leaders of the 54 Commonwealth countries for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was an opportunity to highlight the important role the Commonwealth has to play at COP26, building on the Commonwealth’s Proposed Leaders Declaration on Climate Change.

Throughout the day, His Royal Highness also held further bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders including the Prime Minister of Australia, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Prime Minister of Sierra Leone, and the President of the USA.

Meanwhile, The Duke of Cambridge attended a meeting between the Earthshot Prize Winners and Finalists, giving them the opportunity to meet industry leaders and experts with a view towards supercharging and scaling their innovative solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges.

His Royal Highness, along with the Earthshot Prize Winners and Finalists, then attended the World Leaders’ Summit at the ‘Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment’ session.

The Duke was joined on stage by 15-year-old India-based Vinisha Umashankar, the youngest Earthshot Prize Finalist.

Vinisha’s solar-powered ironing cart is a clean alternative to the charcoal-powered street irons that press clothes for millions of Indians each day. Concerned by the burning of charcoal on the health of her local ironing vendors and the impact on air quality across India, her solar-powered invention means five hours of sunshine can power the iron for six hours.

You can find out more about the Earthshot Prize here.



Wednesday 3 November

On the third day of COP26, The Prince of Wales had the chance to view the new Formula-E McLaren car.

Formula-E is a motorsport championship for electric cars, and McLaren’s new car has been hand-painted and features the four biomes in which Extreme E races: artic, desert, amazon and ocean.

The livery also includes the names of the initial signatories of McLaren’s Extreme E ‘Count Us In’ pledge page. ‘Count Us In’ is a pledge, prominent at COP26, aiming to bring together people, businesses and government to protect what they love, sign the pledge and take one or more of 16 suggested steps to reduce carbon footprint.

Later, The Prince presented awards at the inaugural Terra Carta Seal Awards, which recognises the work of global companies driving innovation and demonstrating their commitment to the creation of genuinely sustainable markets.

The Terra Carta Seal uniquely acknowledges that each industry faces its own particular challenges in its transition to a sustainable future and they are all at different stages of their journey. Here, all industries and all companies must be supported as they take the critical steps required to move in a more positive direction. - The Prince of Wales' speech at the Terra Carta Seal awards

44 companies have been awarded the Terra Carta Seal across a variety of industries and countries who have committed themselves to accelerated action towards sustainability over the decade to 2030.

To finish the day, The Prince visited the Stella McCartney fashion installation at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

The exhibition is encouraging the world to discover and participate in creating a better, bolder fashion industry by exploring next-generation materials.

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