Queen calls after ‘true statesmanship’ in COP26 speech

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Her Majesty the Queen called for ‘true statesmanship’ from the world leaders in her profound speech delivered via video message during the COP26 Evening Reception on Monday.

The Queen, who ‘regretfully’ decided not to attend the summit at Glasgow following medical advice, stated: “For more than seventy years, I have been lucky to meet and to know many of the world’s great leaders. And I have perhaps come to understand a little about what made them special.

“It has sometimes been observed that what leaders do for their people today is government and politics. But what they do for the people of tomorrow — that is statesmanship.

“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.

“It is the hope of many that the legacy of this summit – written in history books yet to be printed – will describe you as the leaders who did not pass up the opportunity; and that you answered the call of those future generations. That you left this conference as a community of nations with a determination, a desire, and a plan, to address the impact of climate change; and to recognise that the time for words has now moved to the time for action.”

The Queen made a personal reference during the speech while highlighting how the impact of the environment on human progress was close to her late husband’s, the Duke of Edinburgh’s, heart and her pride for her family’s work for the cause.

In her speech, she stated: “It is a source of great pride to me that the leading role my husband played in encouraging people to protect our fragile planet, lives on through the work of our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William. I could not be more proud of them.”

Following the public concerns over health, maybe the most poignant moment of the speech came when the Queen reminded the world leaders of the ripple effect of the decisions they will make during COP26.

The Queen concluded: “Of course, the benefits of such actions will not be there to enjoy for all of us here today: we none of us will live forever.

“But we are doing this not for ourselves but for our children and our children’s children, and those who will follow in their footsteps.”

The COP26 summit continues.

The speech is available in full on the Royal website.