(CNN) – Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving head of state, has a knack for courting world leaders. An expert in the art of soft diplomacy, she is revered by other heads of state for her skills as a hostess and her ability not to offend her guests.
This is why the personalities gathered in Glasgow for the crucial COP26 climate talks will miss her.
Surely they would have waited for their moment with the monarch, and perhaps a precious photo. Now that he has canceled his visit on medical recommendation, his ministers have also lost their most valuable diplomat.
For those who remain concerned about the 95-year-old, the palace continues to say this week that she is in a “good mood”, and sources have told us that she was doing “light duty” in Windsor. On Thursday, the palace published an excerpt from a video call made on the same day. In the clip, he joked with the 2020 Queen’s Gold Medal winner David Constantine who received his medal at Buckingham Palace. “I don’t know what you do with it … Do you put it in a closet?” He joked.
In the absence of the queen, the princes Carlos and Guillermo will be the protagonists in Scotland. They will be accompanied by the Duchesses of Cornwall and Cambridge, who have assumed more important roles in recent years.
Both Camilla and Kate did their first television interviews with CNN. Camilla’s was on the domestic violence in 2017while Kate found some time to meet us during a royal tour of pakistan two years later. They were both anxious, but determined to make it work.
A great example of how comfortable Camilla has felt with her place at the Firm came this week with what is possibly her most relevant and impressive speech yet. The Duchess of Cornwall delivered an impassioned speech at a reception prior to the Shameless! Festival. to be held in London next month and which intends to bring together art and activism to combat attitudes towards sexual violence.
“This country has been shocked and saddened by the loss of women to violence this year. On average, a woman is killed by a man every three days,” Camilla said. “Sarah Everard, Sabina Nessa, Wenjing Lin, Geetika Goyal and Bennylyn Burke are names that, along with everyone else, should never be forgotten.”
He continued: “We do not consider, in any way, that all men are responsible for sexual violence. But we do need them all to confront it. After all, rapists are not born, they are made. And it takes a whole community , men and women, to dismantle the lies, words and actions that foster a culture in which sexual assault is seen as normal, and in which the victim is embarrassed. “
It was a speech that fitted in with what many British women feel amid national recognition of the violence epidemic against women and girls.
Kate has also been refining the causes she is passionate about, be it her focus on early childhood or her support of mental health campaigns, such as recently with a campaign that she hopes will rethink addiction.
How did they do it? Well, in part, they just got into the ring embracing that old World War II motivational mantra of “Keep calm and move on.” But they have also become experts in their areas of interest.
Next week, both women will face their biggest diplomatic test to date in what will be the largest gathering of world leaders ever held in the UK. It is not about them, but about the great names they will receive in the absence of the queen.
No one expects the Duchesses to do anything but stand out, but will they be able to show that the UK can continue to maintain its diplomatic power without the real star of the show?
Camilla and Kate don’t have to prove that they are as good as the queen (that’s up to their husbands as heirs to the throne and next in line, who have to show they have the potential when the time comes). This is the long game of royalty and COP26 is one of those times where royalty shows their worth to the UK, which is why all four of them are so committed to the event.