Sense of history before Queen funeral: PM

·3-min read

The prime minister says he feels a real sense of history as he prepares to lead an entourage of Australians travelling to London for the Queen's funeral.

Anthony Albanese will leave Sydney on Thursday evening with Governor-General David Hurley and their partners to attend the state funeral on Monday.

He is set to attend multiple events ahead of the occasion, which he said would be momentous.

"I feel a real sense of history here and a sense of privilege in representing Australia along with the governor-general and the acting high commissioner," Mr Albanese told ABC Radio.

"That sense of history and the longevity of service and the dedication to service that Queen Elizabeth had over those seven decades is one of the reasons why there is an outpouring of emotion."

Travelling with Mr Albanese will be 10 everyday Australians representing each state and territory, including Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott.

Australia has also invited heads of state from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Samoa.

Also on the flight will be prominent Australian racing identities Gai and Robbie Waterhouse, who were invited by Buckingham Palace to attend the funeral.

The pair were invited to travel on the flight with the prime minister due to a lack of available commercial flights to London.

After arriving in London, the prime minister will sign a book of condolence for the late monarch at Lancaster House and will view the Queen lying in state.

Tens of thousands of mourners have been viewing the Queen's coffin at Westminster Hall.

The prime minister will also have a one-on-one meeting with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace in the lead-up to the funeral.

A reception with the King will also be held with other Commonwealth leaders.

During the visit, Mr Albanese will meet with new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, as well as his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau.

A reception will be held at Australia House in London, the Australian diplomatic mission in the UK, for all the Australians who will be attending the Queen's funeral.

Mr Albanese said the accession of King Charles III to the throne had prompted reflection on how the political system operates.

"One of the things that is occurring is that Australians are now more conscious of our system of government. There have been people who have expressed surprise to me about how King Charles has ascended to the throne automatically," he said.

"It is a chance, I think, for us to reflect on the system that we have over a period of time."

The prime minister has previously ruled out holding a referendum on Australia becoming a republic during his first term in office, saying the constitutional priority was enshrining an Indigenous voice to parliament.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said it was "unseemly" for republic campaigners to "eke out some political advantage from the Queen's death".

"I don't agree with a republic and, frankly, I think what we're seeing at the moment highlights the stability, the transition, that you get in a monarchy," he told 2GB radio.

Tens of thousands of Australians have signed an online condolence book on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.

Physical books are also available to sign at Parliament House and Government House in Canberra as well as official residences in other states and territories.

Mr Albanese will return to Australia on Wednesday ahead of the national remembrance public holiday on Thursday, which will feature a memorial service in Canberra attended by all state and territory leaders.