The 95-year-old monarch had been expected to attend the Glasgow summit, but she had to cancel the trip after doctors said she should rest and not travel. The queen recently underwent medical checks and spent the night at a London hospital – her first hospital stay in years.
In the video message, played during a welcoming reception for presidents and prime ministers, the queen said she hoped that the 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.”
“History has shown that when nations come together in common cause, there is always room for hope,” she said in the video, which was recorded on Friday at Windsor Castle.
“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,” she said.
“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.
“Of course, the benefits of such actions will not be there to enjoy for all of us here today: 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.”
In a tribute to her late husband, Prince Philip, the queen said she was happy to welcome the delegates because the environment was a subject close to Philip’s heart. In a rare public display of emotion, she said she “could not be more proud” that Philip’s environmental work lives on through the work of their eldest son, Prince Charles, and his son Prince William.