Queen’s 'personal' tribute in COP26 speech broke major royal tradition—but she’s not the only one

The Queen addressed the COP26 summit in a video message that could show a shift in royal protocol

Queen Elizabeth II arrives to greet the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani to her Windsor residence on October 26, 2010
(Image credit: Photo by Dan Kitwood - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

The Queen reportedly broke with a longstanding tradition in her passionate speech to the COP26 climate summit, though she’s not the only royal to have abandoned this strict rule in recent months. 

The Queen pulled out of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow after receiving advice to “rest” amid health fears. This decision came just a week after Buckingham Palace announced that Her Majesty had recently spent a night in hospital. Since then the monarch is said to be in “good spirits” and she’s even been spotted driving near Windsor Castle as she continues to undertake “light duties”. This includes addressing the COP 26 summit in a recent video message, though her powerful words could reportedly indicate a major shift in royal protocol.

In the message which was played during a reception attended by Prince Charles, Duchess Camilla, Prince William and Duchess Kate, the Queen reflected on her late “dear” husband Prince Philip and his passion for conservation. 

She declared, "It is a source of great pride to me that the leading role my husband played in encouraging people to protect our fragile planet, lives on through the work of our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William. I could not be more proud of them.”

But while the Queen’s deeply personal remarks have captured fans’ imaginations, it seems that her heart-warming display of emotion broke with royal custom. Opening up to Femail, Robert Jobson, author of Prince Philip’s Century, has now suggested that the Duke of Edinburgh might've been “embarrassed” by his wife’s public show of pride for him.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh during "The Patron's Lunch" celebrations for The Queen's 90th birthday at The Mall

(Image credit: Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

He claimed to the publication, “I thought it was a wonderful, deeply personal touch. A tribute to a man of vision, that Prince Philip was. He would have been embarrassed. But it shows how rightly proud she was of him.”

Meanwhile, fellow royal biographer Nigel Cawthorne previously discussed the Royal Family’s tendency to maintain a “stiff upper lip” following Prince Philip’s death. He disclosed to Femail at the time that, “Prince Philip himself would not countenance public displays of affection”.

Queen Elizabeth II watches as pallbearers carry the coffin of Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh into St George’s Chapel

(Image credit: Photo by Yui Mok-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

However, Nigel also reportedly expressed his belief that the Royal Family's outpouring of grief for the Duke of Edinburgh could have signaled a shift in the monarchy's approach to displays of emotion.

“It is significant that not only Charles but even the Queen appears to have broken this rule”, he shared at the time. “The stiff upper lip is no longer, and under Charles' increased influence it is likely to be phased out as out of tune with the times.”

Following his father’s death, Prince Charles broke his silence from his Gloucestershire home, Highgrove House. It was here that he delivered a heartfelt speech that contained just as much emotion as his royal mother’s recent video message.

He poignantly stated, "My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him, and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that. It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time. Thank you."

Though the Queen and Prince Charles’ tributes to Prince Philip could be seen to indicate a shift away from the royal rule of keeping displays of emotion private, they’ve certainly given fans an insight into the incredible bonds within their family. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!