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Time for action: Queen tells world leaders in COP26 message

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Glasgow: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II had a stark message for the 120 world leaders gathered for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, that it is time for action to protect the planet for future generations.

The 95-year-old monarch’s video message was played at a special reception, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with other world leaders participating in the World Leaders’ Summit of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on Monday night.

She was to attend the summit in person but did not travel to Scotland on medical advice to rest and undertake only light desk-based duties.

“The time for words has now moved to the time for action,” the Queen said.

“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,” she said.

The monarch stressed that the summit was the world’s chance to join in the shared objective of creating a safer, stabler future for people and the planet.

“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,” she said.

“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,” she added.

A major security operation was in place as the world leaders were joined by other members of the royal family at the reception, including Prince Charles and wife Camilla, formally known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay when in Scotland, and Prince William and wife Kate Middleton.

The Kelvingrove Museum, a grand Victorian red sandstone building, usually operates as a free-to-enter council-owned attraction but was closed since last Wednesday as preparations were made for the reception. Security fencing and bollards were in place and large numbers of police officers were deployed.

Climate activists, including members of Extinction Rebellion, lined nearby streets to make their voices heard as the VIPs were driven past to the reception.

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