Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has revealed the important role Queen Elizabeth II plays in his family’s life.
Mr Albanese, a republican, refused to take part in the debate on the future of the monarchy after the Queen’s death on September 8.
And now he has told the story of how his mother insisted on trying to catch a glimpse of the Queen during her visit to Australia in 1963 – on her way to hospital to give birth to him.
“My mother was a republican, but she also loved the Queen. I think you can have different views, but respect Queen Elizabeth and the role she played,” Mr Albanese told ABC radio.
“When I was about to be born, my mother in 1963, the royal visit, my mother insisted on the way to the hospital to give birth to me, walking through the town, George Street, to see all the paraphernalia of the festival.
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“It’s a story that’s quite famous in my family, so my mother respected Queen Elizabeth. I think the fact that Queen Elizabeth was such a strong woman was a role model for a lot of people.”
The prime minister met King Charles III at Buckingham Palace at the weekend along with his counterparts from the 14 Commonwealth realms and said the new monarch was “less tired” than he expected given his busy schedule since his mother’s death.
“He was very focused and it was a very positive meeting. It was a great honor to have my first personal meeting with King Charles. I felt this sense of history,” he said.
“He was less tired than it’s reasonable to expect, frankly, given the unusual schedule. And that, of course, must be very emotionally and physically exhausting for him.”
Mr Albanese said his meeting with the new king was focused on expressing sympathy for Australia and confirmed there had been no talks about a republic.
He also explained the feeling in the room as he looked at the Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall, describing it as a “solemn occasion”.
“It was very emotional and you could feel the emotions of the people as they went through,” Mr Albanese said.
“It was also an important moment in history to recognize that the Queen lay in state, having served for 70 years as monarch, but lived a very full life for her 96 years.”
Mr Albanese will be among more than 2,000 people to attend Her Majesty’s funeral at Westminster Abbey at 6pm Western Time, before a farewell service at St George’s Chapel on Monday.
He will travel to the funeral by bus with other world leaders.
Nine “ordinary Australians” — including WA professor Helen Milroy — will also attend.
While in the UK, the Prime Minister met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before hosting a lunch with Australian communities at Australia House in London.
He also met his British counterpart Liz Truss and said she may visit Australia soon.
A FINAL FAREWELL WILL BE HELD IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA THIS TUESDAY AS THE WORLD STOPS TO CELEBRATE OUR QUEEN’S PASSING. FUNERAL, FAMILY, FAMOUS ASSOCIATES, FINAL PROCESSION. HISTORIC 12 PAGE SPECIAL WESTERN AUSTRALIA ONLY FORM.