13 September 2022

PM hosts diplomats at The Lodge to mourn the Queen

| Chris Johnson
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Entrance gate, The Lodge

Heads of Mission from more than 20 Commonwealth nations gathered at The Lodge to honour the Queen. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

High Commissioners to Australia from more than 20 Commonwealth nations gathered at The Lodge this morning (13 September) to commemorate the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

The memorial reception, hosted by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, saw high-ranking diplomats from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, and a string of Pacific island and African nations, join the PM in honour of the late monarch.

The Prime Minister greeted the diplomats at The Lodge’s entrance before 8 am, accompanied by Australia’s ‘first dog’ Toto.

Also joining the reception were Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Finance Minister Katy Gallagher, Pacific Minister Pat Conroy and Communications Minister Michelle Rowland.

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Mr Albanese said it was appropriate to invite Commonwealth heads of mission to commemorate the life and service of Her Majesty while accompanied by some members of Australia’s Cabinet.

“They’re coming to pay their respects and to commemorate the contribution of Queen Elizabeth to the Commonwealth,” he said before the reception.

The Prime Minister is preparing to travel to London with Governor-General David Hurley to attend a state funeral for the Queen next Monday.

Upon their return, Australia will hold its day of mourning on 22 September.

The Prime Minister has informally extended an invitation to King Charles III to visit Australia.

“Certainly, King Charles will have a standing invitation to come to Australia as our Head of State,” Mr Albanese said.

“He, of course, is very familiar with Australians, and he’d be very welcome here.”

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The new King has already met with Australia’s acting High Commissioner in London, Lynette Wood, making her the first Australian official to be received by the new monarch.

Ms Wood described the meeting as warm, with the King expressing his deep affection for Australia.

“As you know, the King has a deep and broad relationship with Australia and His Majesty’s warmth for our country was evident in our brief conversation,” she said.

“Having visited Australia 16 times, including studying in Victoria, His Majesty knows Australia very well.

“What has really struck me these past few days is the solemnity here in London and the regard with which Her Majesty was held and the strong support that is already there for King Charles III.”

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