PM Albanese commits to UK relationship

·3-min read

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will reaffirm the strong relationship between Australia and the UK when he meets with King Charles III ahead of the Queen's funeral.

Mr Albanese will touch down in London on Friday night before he has an audience with the new head of state on Saturday.

"No doubt we'll also talk about the relationship with Australia - he (the King) has a strong relationship," Mr Albanese said before leaving Sydney.

"He finished his high schooling in Victoria and has had many visits here to Australia.

"We both are very strong democracies, we have very similar traditions, and it will be important to strengthen the relationship in the future."

The prime minister is leading an Australian delegation to attend a number of official events before the Queen's state funeral.

The travelling party includes a small group of "everyday Australians" and a separate aircraft is transporting officials from Pacific island countries.

Thousands of people have joined a kilometres-long line stretching across London to pay respects as Queen Elizabeth II lies in state at Westminster Hall.

Australian traveller Tiffany Wertheimer spent more than seven hours in a queue to say farewell to the late monarch.

"I arrived at the back of the queue which was a really weird feeling, obviously many more people joined immediately, but for that split second I was at the back of an enormous queue that runs through central London," she told 2GB radio.

"I've had a few moments when I was going to call it quits."

Debate about the future of the monarchy in Australia has continued despite Mr Albanese insisting it was not the right time.

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe - who was forced to retake her oath of allegiance after calling the Queen a coloniser - is calling for Australia to become a republic.

She seized on comments made by former prime minister and "lifelong republican" Julia Gillard, who said it was natural for Australians to reflect on the monarchy following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

"To hear that Julia Gillard has come out in support of a republic just goes to show that there is leadership around the place that will support us self determining our own needs, our own wants, and our own laws in our own country," Senator Thorpe told reporters.

Ms Gillard said Australians could expect to have a discussion on constitutional change in coming years but added now was not the time.

"I've always thought inevitably when the reign of Queen Elizabeth came to the end that people would reflect, but people will do that in a very measured and unhurried way," she told the BBC.

While in London, the prime minister will meet British Prime Minister Liz Truss and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau.

Mr Albanese is expected to view the Queen's lying in state and sign the official book of condolence.

A day of mourning will be held in Australia on September 22, with a public holiday to mark the occasion.