No single quote, memory or moment could possibly convey what Queen Elizabeth II meant to Australia and its people, the Governor-General David Hurley has told the nation.
“All are apt. All are special. They are both individual and, collectively, the memories of an entire nation,” he said in a televised address on Friday evening.
Mr Hurley said while inevitable, news of her passing had shocked Australians and prompted an outpouring of affection.
He spoke of a kind and caring Queen who took a genuine interest in the lives of Australians.
When he and his wife first spoke with the Queen after the death of her husband Prince Philip, her first question was about the welfare of Western Australians reeling from the devastation of a tropical cyclone.
“She was mourning the death of her husband of 73 years yet her first question was to know how Australians in need were faring,” Mr Hurley said.
“The care and compassion was sincere.”
The governor-general received news of the Queen’s death at about 1:30am on Friday and quickly made his way from Adelaide to Canberra.
His address to the nation came after a 96-gun salute rang out from Parliament House, with each round representing a year of the Queen’s life, spaced out at 10-second intervals.
The governor-general will deliver a proclamation outside Parliament House on Sunday, declaring King Charles III as the new sovereign.
Mr Hurley said the Queen had left a legacy that few in history had been able to match.
“We mourn her passing, we are grateful that we have witnessed, and benefited from, her remarkable life,” he said.
“May she rest in peace.”
Mr Hurley and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will fly to London on Thursday to attend the Queen’s funeral.