The Queen has voiced her concern about climate change in a visit in Edinburgh, telling experts that "we are going to have to change the way we do things". 

The monarch and the Princess Royal visited the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) on Thursday to learn about its work. It was the Queen’s final engagement as part of the traditional Royal Week visit to Scotland.

Dressed in a jade green Angela Kelly outfit with a ruby and diamond brooch, the Queen arrived at the University of Edinburgh premises in a hybrid Land Rover, and immediately remarked that "it’s electric" as she exited the vehicle.

The Queen was speaking with experts from Climate XChange – an organisation which provides independent advice and analysis to support the Scottish Government – when she was heard commenting about the impact of tackling the global issue.

"It does mean we are going to have to change the way we do things really, in the end," she told experts. 

The Queen inspected a wave energy converter model during her visit to the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute

Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

The Queen has rarely voiced her concern about climate change in public. Her first acknowledgement about its threat to the planet is thought to have been in conversation with David Attenborough in 2018 when she said: "If countries continue to plant [more trees], it might change the climate again."

Anne Marte Bergeseng, knowledge exchange manager at Climate XChange, said that her discussion with the monarch covered "everything, essentially" about a greener future and what that means for our way of living.

The Queen and Princess Anne also met representatives from the Children’s Parliament, who explained their recent contribution to Scotland’s Climate Assembly.

The children presented the monarch with two rowan trees that will be planted as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, a nationwide planting initiative designed to create a lasting legacy to mark her Platinum Jubilee next year. Her Majesty has been a staunch advocate of planting trees to offset carbon emissions. 

The Queen and Princess Anne were greeted by Peter Mathieson, the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh

Credit: Jane Barlow/REUTERS

Everyone from individuals to Scout and Girlguiding groups, villages, cities, counties, schools and businesses will be encouraged to plant trees from October, when the tree planting season begins, through to the end of the Jubilee year in 2022.

The initiative follows in the footsteps of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a scheme that encourages Commonwealth countries to protect and plant trees in her honour.

The Queen finished the event by unveiling a plaque for the institute and listening to a speech from Peter Mathieson, the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh. 

He spoke about the challenges faced by the workforce during the pandemic and what it may mean for the future.

After the presentation, the Queen said: "It’s very unnatural for us, obviously we’re going to have to change our lives a bit.

The Queen unveiled a commemorative plaque during her visit

Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

"Nothing can be quite normal again or what we thought."

Dave Reay, ECCI executive director, described the royal visit as "amazing".

"It’s a massive honour to have Her Majesty and Her Royal Highness come to visit the ECCI and be so interested in all the different actions we have been taking," he said. "It was a lovely event."

The tour coincided with the announcement of the Edinburgh Earth Initiative (EEI), a project aiming to boost global leadership on the adaption to and mitigation of climate change.

EEI will be a focal point for the university’s research on the climate, and will have an emphasis on supporting global partnerships to deliver solutions.