Scott Morrison has thanked God for the gift of Queen Elizabeth II in a heartfelt tribute to the monarch who has died at her castle in Balmoral at the age of 96.
The former Prime Minister joined Australia’s leaders in paying tribute to Her Majesty in a statement posted to his Facebook page just before 8 am on Friday.
Mr Morrison said the Queen had praised the ‘resilience’ of the Australian people during their last conversation at Windsor Castle in June of last year.
‘In our last conversation at Windsor Castle last year, Her Majesty spoke of her great admiration for the strength and resilience of Australians in the face of the many challenges we had faced,’ he said.
‘And she had a special place in her heart for our rural and regional communities, knowing the many hardships they had faced, not just recently, but over the many decades of her reign.
‘For generations, we have proclaimed God Save the Queen, and now she had entered her eternal rest with Him and joined again with her beloved Phillip.’
Like Morrison, throughout the course of her leadership, Queen Elizabeth II spoke frequently about her personal Christian faith.
Scott Morrison has thanked God for the gift of Queen Elizabeth II in a heartfelt tribute to the monarch who has died at her castle in Balmoral at the age of 96 (pictured, their last meeting)
The Queen’s place in the hearts of millions of Australians was as abiding as her lifelong relationship with the one-time colony. She is pictured receiving flowers from waiting school children waving flags after a Commonwealth Day Service in Sydney
The devout Christian went on to say he and Jenny sent their deepest condolences to King Charles III, Prince William and all the Royal Family.
‘But above all, we give thanks to God for the gift of Queen Elizabeth II and say well done, good and faithful servant,’ he said.
‘God save the King. Advance Australia Fair.’
Alongside the statement, Mr Morrison shared a photo of him and the Queen in yellow floral dress engaged in an animated conversation at Windsor Castle.
He told the Kyle and Jackie O Show on Friday that meeting the Queen had been his ‘greatest honour’ as Australia’s leader, adding he and Jenny had been lucky to meet with Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace.
‘It’s a moment of terrible sadness for the whole world, not just Australians,’ he said.
‘There was a fondness for Her Majesty the world over because of the special person that she was. I’m grateful for her life of amazing service.’
Scott Morrison said meeting the Queen (pictured on September 6) had been his ‘greatest honour’, adding he and Jenny had been lucky to meet with Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace
Mr Morrison said one of the enduring images he remembered of the Queen was her sitting alone at Prince Phillip’s funeral (pictured, the Queen is seen arriving at the funeral)
He said while he had been advised he only had 20 minutes, the Queen had been up for a ‘big chat’ in which they discussed the drought and the mice plague.
Mr Morrison said he and Jenny had gifted her a book about Winks, a champion Australian race horse, after former PM John Howard told him she loves racing.
‘While she had familiarity with you, and she engaged with you, at the same time you always knew you were talking to the Queen,’ he said.
‘She always seemed to get that balance right, being a monarch and also being a compassionate person, and a very interested person.’
The former prime minister said one of the enduring images he remembered of the Queen was her sitting alone at Prince Phillip’s funeral last April.
In his statement, Mr Morrison described her as the ‘rock’ of the Commonwealth and said over her 70-year reign she had lived with a ‘deep passion, warmth, interest and kind fondness to all of the nations and peoples she served as our Majesty’.
It came several hours after his successor, Anthony Albanese, paid tribute to the Queen’s dedication to duty and service, and comfort to Australia in times of crisis.
Australian Prime Minister offered his condolences to the Royal Family, the British people, and all his own citizens who held Her Majesty in the highest regard
The Australian leader was told news of the Queen’s death an hour before the rest of the world was informed via an official announcement.
Mr Albanese leader offered his condolences to the Royal Family, the British people, and his own country, which held Her Majesty in the highest regard.
His lengthy statement, issued in the early hours of Friday morning, paid tribute to her many achievements and incredible strength of character over 214 day reign.
Mr Albanese followed up with a televised address to the nation about 6.30am in which he read a longer version of his early-morning statement while wearing a black tie kept for the occasion.
His staff carried the ceremonial tie for the PM to put on immediately after he was given the news.
‘With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, an historic reign and a long life devoted to duty, family, faith and service has come to an end,’ he said.
‘The government and the people of Australia offer our deepest condolences to the Royal Family, who are grieving for a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother – the person whom for so long was their greatest inner strength.
The Queen first visited Australia with Prince Philip in 1954, arriving on the SS Gothic which steamed into Sydney Harbour after almost six weeks at sea. She is pictured with Prince Philip at Parliament House in Canberra during that tour
Scott Morrison said in his last conversation with Queen Elizabeth II (pictured here in Canberra in 2006) she spoke of her great admiration for the resilience of the Australian people
‘Australian hearts go out to the people of the UK who mourn today, knowing they will feel they have lost part of what makes their nation whole.
‘There is comfort to be found in Her Majesty’s own words: “Grief is the price we pay for love”.’
Mr Albanese, a republican who will likely begin the push to end the monarchy after a respectful time, said many Australians would feel a strong sense of loss when they awoke to the news on Friday.
‘This is a loss we all feel, for few have known a world without Queen Elizabeth II. In her seven remarkable decades on the throne, Her Majesty was a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change,’ he said.
‘Through the noise and tumult of the years, she embodied and exhibited a timeless decency and an enduring calm.
‘From the moment the young princess became Queen, shouldering the mighty weight of the institution into which she was born, Her Majesty made dedication to duty and service above self the hallmark of her reign.
The Queen’s last visit to Australia came in 2011 when then Labor prime minister Julia Gillard described her as ‘a vital constitutional part of Australian democracy’. She is pictured in Perth during that trip
‘We saw those qualities each time she visited our shores, and she graced us on 16 occasions during her reign.’
Mr Albanese cancelled next week’s sitting of parliament and will instead travel to London with Governor General David Hurley to meet the new King Charles III.
Parliament will not return for 15 days with the flag at Parliament House lowered to half mast on Friday morning.
With next week’s scheduled sitting cancelled, Parliament is not due until the last week of October when the Labor government will unveil its first budget.
But Mr Albanese said politicians may be recalled earlier for a memorial sitting.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s full tribute to Queen Elizabeth II
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth the Second, an historic reign and a long life devoted to duty, family, faith and service has come to an end.
The Government and the people of Australia offer our deepest condolences to the Royal Family, who are grieving for a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother—the person whom for so long was their greatest inner strength.
Australian hearts go out to the people of the United Kingdom who mourn today, knowing they will feel they have lost part of what makes their nation whole.
There is comfort to be found in Her Majesty’s own words: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
This is a loss we all feel, for few have known a world without Queen Elizabeth II. In her seven remarkable decades on the throne, Her Majesty was a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change. Through the noise and tumult of the years, she embodied and exhibited a timeless decency and an enduring calm.
From the moment the young princess became Queen, shouldering the mighty weight of the institution into which she was born, Her Majesty made dedication to duty and service above self the hallmark of her reign.
She celebrated our good times, she stood with us in the bad. Happy and glorious but steadfast too. In particular, we recall the sympathy and personal kindness she extended to Australians afflicted by tragedy and disaster.
Throughout it all, she was a monarch who let her humanity show, performing her duty with fidelity, integrity and humour. In this, she was supported so long and so lovingly by the late Prince Philip, her “strength and stay” for 73 years.
From her famous first trip to Australia, the only reigning sovereign to ever visit, it was clear Her Majesty held a special place in her heart for Australia.
Fifteen more tours before cheering crowds in every part of our country confirmed the special place she held in ours.
As monarch for more than half the life of our Federation, the relationship between Australia and Britain matured and evolved throughout Her Majesty’s reign.
The Queen greeted each and every change with understanding, good grace and an abiding faith in the Australian people’s good judgment.
This was the deft and diplomatic way she bound the diversity of the modern Commonwealth, nations around the world who will mourn her passing.
Today marks the end of an era, the close of the second Elizabethan age. This time of mourning will pass but the deep respect and warm regard in which Australians always held Her Majesty will never fade.
May she rest in eternal peace.