King Charles could have attended Cop27 'had Sunak been appointed sooner'

Downing Street made the admission as new prime minister seeks to distance himself from his predecessor

Britain's King Charles III. Reuters
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Britain's King Charles may have been able to attend the Cop27 climate change summit in Egypt if Rishi Sunak had been installed in Downing Street earlier, the Prime Minister's office said.

It was now not feasible for the king to join next week’s international gathering at Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

Mr Sunak took office only last week after the dramatic resignation of Liz Truss.

“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.

“There remains unanimous agreement between the palace and the government that the king will not attend.”

Sharm El Sheikh's preparations for Cop27 - in pictures

The disclosure will be regarded as the latest attempt by Mr Sunak to distance himself from the short tenure of Ms Truss.

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.

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

Access limited for Cop27 climate activists — in pictures

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

The change of heart followed intense criticism from environmentalists and from within the Conservative Party, including from Cop26 President Alok Sharma.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's U-turn on attending Cop27 in Egypt - video

Updated: November 03, 2022, 10:59 PM