Last week, Prince Charles filled in for his mother, Queen Elizabeth, at the Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph ceremony, after the palace announced that the queen had sprained her back and would have to cancel her appearance. On Tuesday, the prince and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, left for a four-day trip to Jordan and Egypt, the first royal tour since the pandemic ground world travel to a halt. While in Egypt, Charles spoke to Sky News about the lessons learned from the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, but he also gave an update about the queen’s health.

“She’s alright, thank you very much,” said the prince, who recently celebrated his 73rd birthday. “Once you get to 95, it’s not quite as easy as it used to be. It’s bad enough at 73.”

Though there hasn’t been more official word about the queen’s condition since the Sunday cancelation, she has continued to do light duties at Windsor Castle, including her usual meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. On Wednesday, the palace released a photograph of a meeting she took with General Nick Carter of the British Armed Forces in the castle’s Oak Room. 

Charles also appeared on his mother’s behalf at the COP26 summit, which ended last week, though the queen did contribute a video address for the opening ceremony. In his comments to Sky News, he commented on the sense of urgency at the summit. “Always the difficulty I think in these exercises is, how do you translate commitments into real action around. So often in the past it has been a problem,” he said. “But this time, the problem is we cannot go on mucking about any longer because the urgency as I was trying to say is so great.”

He also explained that climate change was the purpose of his trip to the Middle East. “It’s water, food and energy are the critical areas here as they are in many areas. But what of course the investors like is the scale,” he said. “So what we’re trying to do is look at how you can create the regional scale. So more countries together, providing real opportunities for the big investments. But not just in technology, but in nature-based solutions. And there are an awful lot of very ingenious ideas now, which could be brought to fruition.”

The trip to Jordan was also an opportunity for a royal reunion. Charles and Camilla met with the nation’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania for a formal welcome at the Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman, and later Camilla climbed into the passenger seat of Rania’s Tesla for an event at a children’s center.

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