'They talk but don't do': Queen hits out at leaders for 'irritating' climate inaction

14 October 2021, 23:53 | Updated: 15 October 2021, 10:20

By Daisy Stephens

The Queen has been caught on camera criticising world leaders over their handling of the climate crisis.

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The Queen was overheard saying to the Duchess of Cornwall and parliamentary presiding officer Elin Jones that she was 'irritated' by the inaction of world leaders over climate change.

"It's really irritating when they talk but they don't do," the monarch could be heard saying, after her comments were picked up by a TV livestream and subsequently reported in several national papers.

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She also referenced COP26, the UN climate summit due to be held in Glasgow in just a few weeks time.

"I've been hearing all about COP... still don't know who is coming," she said.

She said the fact she had "no idea" who was attending the major climate summit was "extraordinary".

"We only know about people who are not coming," she added, possibly referencing President Xi Jinping of China, who is still yet to say whether he will attend.

The Queen is due to go to the summit herself, alongside the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on Friday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "I don;t want to be dragged into the Queen's private comments."

He added that "Cop26 is enormously important", and went on: "It will bring together under British leadership vast parts of the global economy and we know very many leaders are coming from America, Europe and beyond."

It comes after the Queen's grandson criticised the so-called 'space race', and said people needed to instead focus on fixing the planet.

In an interview ahead of his Earthshot Prize awards, the Duke of Cambridge said: "The idea the space race is on at the moment, we've seen everyone trying to get space tourism going... we need some of the world's greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live."

He also made remarks echoing those of his grandmother, warning world leaders at COP26 against "clever speak, clever words but not enough action".

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"I think for COP to communicate very clearly and very honestly what the problems are and what the solutions are going to be, is critical," he said.

"We can't have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action."

Speaking to BBC Newscast, the Duke also highlighted climate anxiety in young people, and said it would be a "disaster" if his eldest son Prince George was still having to talk about climate change in 30 years time.