‘Her death will sadden all Australians’: Albanese leads nation’s tributes to Queen

As the nation wakes up to the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has led the tributes from Australia by offering condolences to the royal family in an address from Canberra on Friday morning.

In the speech, Albanese said he will travel to London in the coming days with Governor-General David Hurley to meet King Charles III.

Flags will fly at half-mast across Australia on Friday as the nation waits to hear how the official mourning process will proceed.

Albanese said the Queen’s death would be felt “deeply in Australia”.

“Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II showed a deep affection for our country,” he said. “From her first trip here, it was clear Her Majesty had a special place in our hearts and we in hers.”

In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to set foot on Australian soil when she travelled the nation for two months with Prince Phillip.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge’s flags at half-mast just after 6am.

Her arrival at Farm Cove in Sydney Harbour drew a crowd of more than a million people who lined the city streets in hopes of catching a glimpse of the royal couple.

The Queen toured Australia sixteen times during her reign, and was famously en route to our shores in Kenya when she learned of her father’s death and her ascension, forcing her to return home.

Albanese said more details would be shared about the arrangements for the Queen’s funeral and memorial over the next 48 hours. Federal parliament, which was due to return next week, will be suspended for 15 days due to Queen’s death.

“Today marks the end of an era. The close of the second Elizabethan age,” Albanese said. “This time of mourning will pass but the deep respect and warm regard in which Australians have always held for Her Majesty will never fade.”

The moment the Queen stepped ashore in Australia, at Farm Cove, in 1954.Credit:Fairfax

Sydney’s St Andrews Cathedral will begin prayers of thanksgiving and comfort at 11:50am (AEST) and will ring the church bells from noon. They will sound 96 times, one for each year of the Queen’s life, at ten-second intervals.

The church has also encouraged mourners to leave flowers for the Queen at NSW Parliament House.

In Victoria, the only official flag across the state still flying at full mast is the Governor’s Standard at Government House.

Victorian Governor Linda Dessau explained on radio on Friday morning the yellow flag signifies the continuity of the crown.

Dessau is due to lay a wreath at the residence this morning with Melburnians invited to leave flowers at the gates.

A man pays his respects at St Andrews Cathedral. Credit:Dom Lorrimer

In a statement released on Friday morning, Governor-General David Hurley, who represented Australia earlier this year at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, said he joined all Australian mourning The Queen’s death.

“She was a truly remarkable person,” he said. “When I reflect on my own memories – she was my Queen for my whole life – I think of Her Majesty’s dignity and her compassion. Her death will sadden all Australians and will be felt around the world.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also joined in on the local tributes.

“Never in modern history has there been a more dignified monarch, a more dutiful leader, or a more decent human than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Dutton said in a statement.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd also issued a statement, speaking fondly of his times with the Queen.

“[My wife] Therese and I had the opportunity to meet with the Queen on several occasions over the years, and it was clear from those conversations that her affection for Australia was as profound as it was enduring,” he said.

“Whether republicans or monarchists, Australians will be deeply affected by this news.”

Greens leader Adam Bandt took the opportunity to throw his support behind Australia’s republican movement. His comments were poorly received on his personal social media pages.

“Rest In Peace Queen Elizabeth II. Our thoughts are with her family and all who loved her,” he wrote. “Now Australia must move forward. We need Treaty with First Nations people, and we need to become a Republic.”

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