Australia's prime minister Anthony Albanese has paid tribute to the country's head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, hours after her death was confirmed by the British royal family this morning.
"Her Majesty celebrated our good times and she stood with us during trials and hardships, happy and glorious," he said in a televised address following news of the 96-year-old monarch's passing.
"In particular we recall the sympathy and personal kindness she extended to Australians afflicted by tragedy and disaster from floods and bushfires," he added.
"Throughout her reign Queen Elizabeth II showed her deep affection for our country.
"As she said at the Sydney Opera House in the year 2000, 'Since I stepped ashore here, I have felt part of this rugged, honest, creative land and I have shared in the joys and sorrows, the challenges and the changes that have shaped this country's history'," the PM said.
"Queen Elizabeth II is the only reigning monarch most of us have known, and the only one to ever visit Australia."
The Queen visited Australia 16 times during her reign, visiting every state and territory.
Albanese to travel to London
In the coming days, Mr Albanese will travel to London with the Governor-General David Hurley to convey the sorrow of Australians.
With flags on Commonwealth buildings around the country at half mast, the prime minister wore a black tie during the sombre address as a sign of mourning.
It's been reported the prime minister's staff carried the ceremonial black tie for the PM to wear immediately after being given the news.
While the country is not expected to observe an official mourning period for the Queen, a national memorial is expected.
In another sign of respect, Mr Albanese has cancelled the upcoming parliamentary sitting. Australia's leaders in federal parliament will not sit as scheduled next week, and will not return for at least a fortnight.
"This is a loss we feel deeply in Australia," Mr Albanese said.
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