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Special Australian touches ready for final farewell to the Queen

Australia’s leaders will gather in Canberra on Thursday to bid a final farewell to the Queen, one fortnight since her death, in a service replete with touches of her favourite parts of Australian life and culture. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will be at his first public engagement since returning from London for the Queen’s funeral.

He will be joined at Parliament’s Great Hall by state premiers and territory chief ministers, foreign envoys and justices of the High Court.

The Queen opened Parliament House in 1998.

The day has been declared a one-off public holiday for the National Day of Mourning.

Mel Doyle and Australian Idol sensation Anthony Callea will be the service’s MC and feature act.

The Australian Girls Choir, which performed for the Queen previously, will perform the hymn Here I Am, Lord.

A famous 1954 painting of the Queen by eight-time Archibald Prize winner Sir William Dargie will serve as the centrepiece of the service, the borders of which will be lined with the Queen’s favourite flowers – golden wattle, sweet peas and dahlias.

The oil on canvas portrait was painted over the course of five sittings at Buckingham Palace during November 1954.

“The National Memorial Service is an opportunity for all Australians to pay respect to our faithful monarch for the past 70 years, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Mr Albanese said.

“As we pay tribute to Her Majesty, I encourage all Australians to reflect on her remarkable life of dedication and service with one minute’s silence at 11am.

“Her Majesty had a deep affection with Australia and Australians have remembered her fondly since her passing.

“The Queen lived her life with an air of dignity and grace that will be remembered for centuries to come.”

Proceedings will be broadcast from 11am.

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