No longer ‘feasible’ for King to attend Cop27, says Downing Street

The King may have been able to attend the Cop27 climate change summit if Rishi Sunak had been installed in Downing Street earlier, No 10 has said.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said that it was not now “logistically feasible” for Charles to join next week’s international gathering at Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

However the spokeswoman said the situation may have been different if Mr Sunak, who only took office last week following the dramatic resignation of Liz Truss, had gained the premiership sooner.

“We do recognise that had the Prime Minister been in post earlier, the situation might have been different but it is not logistically feasible at this late stage,” the spokeswoman said.

The King shakes hands with Liz Truss during their first audience at Buckingham Palace
It was agreed the King would not attend Cop27 after consulting with Liz Truss (Yui Mok/PA)

“There remains unanimous agreement between the Palace and the Government that the King will not attend.”

The disclosure will be seen as the latest attempt by Mr Sunak to distance himself from the tenure of his predecessor.

It was widely reported that the King, who takes a passionate interest in environmental affairs and who addressed last year’s Cop26 summit in Glasgow, had hoped to attend in person.

However it is understood that after seeking the advice of Ms Truss, the then prime minister, as is customary with royal visits overseas, it was agreed that he would not go.

Mr Sunak only announced on Wednesday that he would be traveling to Egypt, having previously said that he was staying in London to focus on the autumn statement with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

The U-turn followed intense criticism from environmentalists and from within the Conservative Party, including from Cop26 President Alok Sharma.