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Prime Minister prepares to attend Queen’s funeral

Late Queen to be laid to rest at Windsor

Solemn and emotional is how Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has described his viewing of the Queen’s lying-in-state.

Mr Albanese was among the expected crowd of 750,000 people who viewed Queen Elizabeth’s coffin in Westminster Hall ahead of her state funeral.

“It was a very solemn occasion and it was very emotional, and you could feel the emotion from people as they were filing through,” he told the ABC.

“What struck me most strongly in that room, in that moment, (was) the sense of history.”

Mr Albanese will travel to the Queen’s funeral by coach later on Monday alongside other leaders as much of the world’s attention focuses on London.

The funeral, to be attended by just over 2000 people, will take place at Westminster Abbey at 8pm AEST before a committal service at St George’s Chapel.

The late Queen was married at Westminster in 1947 and crowned there in 1953.

More than 10,000 police are expected to be posted throughout the city for the funeral.

Ahead of the event, Mr Albanese met Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday before having lunch with Australia’s community champions at Australia House in London.

He also met the King at Buckingham Palace, along with his prime ministerial counterparts from the 14 Commonwealth realms.

Mr Albanese described the meeting as warm and friendly, saying it provided him a moment to personally offer his condolences to the King.

“It’s a very personal bereavement that he’s feeling,” Mr Albanese told the BBC.

“In his case, of course, the loss of his mother coming so soon after the loss of his father.

“I was able to offer the condolences of the people of Australia for whom the Queen was held in great affection.”

In Australia, senior Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek lauded the Queen’s graciousness during her visits. The Environment Minister met the former monarch briefly twice.

“I have to say my mum came with me on both of those occasions,” she said.

“She was super-excited. Like a lot of women of her generation, she was a huge fan of the Queen and [she is] experiencing a lot of sadness at the moment.”

Thursday will be marked by a day of mourning with Australians to get a one-off public holiday.

Australian Idol star Anthony Callea will perform at the event, to be held at Parliament House in Canberra, with TV presenter Melissa Doyle to host.

“It will be an important day to pay tribute to the life and service of Queen Elizabeth II,” Mr Albanese told Sky News.

All state and territory leaders, as well as justices of the High Court, will attend the service.

Mr Albanese said he and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton would give short tributes to the late monarch.

Mr Albanese also met British prime minister Liz Truss in Kent on Saturday. The pair spoke about security in the Indo-Pacific.

Earlier in the day, Mr Albanese was forced to dismiss questions about changes to the constitution following the Queen’s death, saying now was not the time.

“I don’t think now’s the time to discuss those issues, and I have made that clear,” he said.

“This is a time in which we should acknowledge the life of service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.”

He said the late monarch had a close affinity to Australia, always standing with its people at times of difficulty.

Mr Albanese said there was a standing invitation for King Charles to visit Australia.

– AAP

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