Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his partner Jodie Haydon have paid a touching tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II after arriving in London overnight.
Mr Albanese and Governor General David Hurley arrived in the UK with their partners, along with nine other Australians ahead of the Queen’s state funeral on Monday.
Surrounded by hundreds of other mourners near Buckingham Palace on Friday, Mr Albanese and his girlfriend paid their respects by placing a bouquet of white flowers near an Australian flag in Green Park.
“It’s a great honour to be representing Australia here,” he said in the British capital.
“Quite clearly, what we can see all around us is the affection in which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was held by people here in the United Kingdom, but also of course in Australia and right around the Commonwealth.
“It has been an honour to leave a tribute for Queen Elizabeth here.”
Mr Albanese and Ms Haydon walked around the park near Buckingham Palace, viewing the thousands of floral tributes left by mourners.
“Monday will be a sombre day, but it will also be a day of celebrating a life well lived, a life of service, a life in which Queen Elizabeth will be remembered for centuries,” the Prime Minister added ahead of the funeral he will attend.
Mr Albanese is set to meet with King Charles III over the weekend, as well as the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss and other world leaders.
He also expressed his condolences to Her Majesty’s eldest son, as the new monarch and the Royal Family continue to mourn the loss of their beloved Queen.
“This is of course the loss of the Monarch for Commonwealth nations that have had Queen Elizabeth as our Head of State, but for him it’s the loss of his mother as well, coming so soon after the loss of his father,” he said.
“There is a very personal dimension.
“It’s not a time for partisanship, this is a time for unity, for coming together, and just for paying tribute to the life and contribution of Queen Elizabeth.”
On his way to London, Mr Albanese was photographed at a stop over in Dubai with nine “everyday Australians” who were also invited to Her Majesty’s state funeral.
Buckingham Palace had requested the Australian Government invite “everyday citizens” who made an “extraordinary contribution” to the nation.
There were originally ten invited, but champion horse trainer Chris Waller had to pull out last-minute after a close family member tested positive for COVID-19.
The invitees pictured include: Australian of the Year and wheelchair tennis star Dylan Alcott, Senior Australians of the Year from 20220 and 2021, Valmai Dempsey and Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann, Local Heroes Shanna Whan, Saba Abraham and Kim Smith, West Australian of the Year Helen Milroy, South Australian Young Australian of the Year Trudy Lin and i4give Day co-founder Danny Abdallah.