King Charles will not attend next month’s Cop27 international climate change summit in Egypt despite his passionate commitment to environmental issues, it has emerged.
The Sunday Times reported that Liz Truss had objected to him attending the gathering during an audience at Buckingham Palace last month.
Neither Downing Street nor the Palace would comment on the report which said the King had wanted to deliver a speech to delegates at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
A No 10 source however said it was “ridiculous” to suggest that the Prime Minister “gives orders” to the monarch.
Nevertheless by convention all overseas official visits by members of the royal family are undertaken in accordance with advice from the Government.
Before he ascended the throne, there had been speculation, that, as Prince of Wales, he would go to Egypt having attended the Cop26 summit in Glasgow the previous year.
It is understood however that after he sought advice from the Government it was agreed that this would not be the right occasion for Charles to make his first overseas visit as sovereign.
The Sunday Times quoted a senior royal source as saying: “It is no mystery that the King was invited to go there. He had to think very carefully about what steps to take for his first overseas tour, and he is not going to be attending Cop.”
The source said the decision was made on the Government’s advice and was “entirely in the spirit of being ever-mindful as King that he acts on Government advice”.
A No 10 spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on meetings between the Prime Minister and the King.”
However, a Government source said the Palace and the Government “considered separately and then agreed jointly” that there might be “more suitable options” for the King’s first overseas visit.
Despite not attending the event in person it is understood that the King still hopes to be able to contribute in some form to the conference.
Charles and his elder son William, the then-Duke of Cambridge, both spoke at last year’s Cop26 event while the Queen recorded an opening address urging the assembled world leaders to take action on climate change.
Unlike her predecessor Boris Johnson – who became an enthusiastic advocate for the cause of net zero – Ms Truss is thought to be more sceptical of the green agenda, a suspicion that is likely to be fuelled by the latest disclosure.
There was dismay among activists when she appointed Jacob Rees-Mogg – who has blamed “climate alarmism” for high energy prices – as Business Secretary with overall responsibility for energy policy.