King Charles host COP27 Kickoff Reception at Buckingham palace

To mark the start of a climate change conference, the King, 73, hosted a festive reception at Buckingham Palace Friday, welcoming more than 200 leaders. The party marked the end of the UK’s presidency of the 26th U.N. Climate Change Meeting, abbreviated as COP26, which took place in Glasgow, Scotland last fall. As the COP27 Summit begins in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, on Sunday, the reception signaled the start of the next cycle.

A number of guests attended, including the new Prime Minister, Alok Sharm, former Secretary of State John Kerry, who currently serves as the first U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate under President Biden, as well as Stella McCartney, whose namesake label is committed to sustainability.

The get-together was held to discuss sustainable growth, environmental strides made since COP26, and the next steps in the fight against climate change. The newly elected U.K. premier made a short speech, and King Charles spoke with guests about climate change, plans for COP27, and more. Nearly 200 countries voted at COP26 to commit to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees by signing the Glasgow Climate Pact.

A passionate environmentalist since the 1970s, the monarch is not attending the international climate change conference, as previously confirmed.

A year after deciding not to attend the summit, Sunak, 42, has changed his mind and will now attend, according to the BBC. However, the King’s plans remain the same.

In accordance with Government’s unanimous agreement, His Majesty will not attend COP27, as previously reported. In a statement shared with PEOPLE, a palace spokesperson said he would attend a pre-COP reception at Buckingham Palace on Friday, during which senior business leaders, experts, and NGOs will discuss the summit’s important work and explore how public-private partnerships can aid in combating climate change.

The event will be attended by the Prime Minister as well as other global leaders,” they said.

Over the summer, Charles spoke out on Europe’s “alarming” temperatures during the record heat wave that swept across the country.

As part of his visit to Cornwall with his wife, Queen Camilla, the senior royal made a speech. Amid a record-breaking heatwave, Charles spoke about the serious issue of climate change, sharing some humorous anecdotes — including one about his late father, Prince Philip. In mid-July, London Heathrow experienced record-breaking temperatures of 104°F, surpassing the previous high of 101°F set in 2019.

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