Queen’s ‘irritation’ at lack of climate action is 'common sense'

The Queen’s suggestion that she is irritated by a lack of action in tackling climate change is a “common sense” response reflecting the views of many, royal commentators have said.

The Queen appeared to express her exasperation just a few weeks before world leaders gather in Glasgow for the Cop26

Royal biographer Penny Junor said the Queen’s view is not “controversial” and echoes the frustration of the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge, while royal historian Hugo Vickers said her comments would have been supported by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Charles and William have given interviews this week highlighting a need for action to combat the environmental threat the planet faces, and will join the Queen at Cop26 for a series of royal events.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Queen’s remarks emerged in clips of a conversation filmed on a smart phone during a reception following the opening of the Welsh Senedd on Thursday.

It is rare for the Queen’s thoughts on a political topic to be made public and her comment was made during an unguarded moment when she chatted with the Duchess of Cornwall and Elin Jones, the Welsh Parliament’s Presiding Officer.

In the footage, the Queen reportedly says: “Extraordinary isn’t it… I’ve been hearing all about Cop… still don’t know who is coming… no idea.”

She adds: “We only know about people who are not coming… and it’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.”

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced he will attend Cop26, but in a blow to hopes for what could be achieved, China’s president Xi Jinping will not attend, according to The Times newspaper.

Ms Junor said of the Queen’s comments: “I think what she’s said is really not controversial at all, it’s what most people are thinking.

“Charles has been banging his head against a brick wall on this for years, William is out there banging his head and I think it’s absolutely fair enough that she should say what she feels.”

Ahead of the award ceremony for his environmental Earthshot Prize this weekend, William said “we can’t have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action”.In a separate interview, Charles said “They just talk, the problem is to get action on the ground which is what I’ve been trying to do for the last 40 years”, when it was suggested world leaders would discuss at Cop26 the issues he has been raising for years.