Governor-General David Hurley addresses Australia following Queen Elizabeth II’s death

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Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in Australia has recalled two memorable phone calls he had with the monarch before her death.

Governor-General David Hurley said he and his wife last spoke to the Queen when they introduced the Australians of the Year for 2022 in January.

“I will always treasure Linda’s and my last call with Her Majesty,” Sir Hurley said in an address to Australians on Friday evening.

“She was warm, funny and sincere in her interest in their work and our country.”

Sir Hurley, who has held the role of governor-general since July 2019, said he had been touched by the Queen’s response during another call in April last year.

“When Linda and I spoke with Her Majesty following the death of Prince Philip, the first thing she inquired about was the welfare of Australians, particularly West Australians impacted by Tropical Cyclone Seroja,” Sir Hurley said.

“She was mourning the death of her husband of 73 years, yet her first question was to know how Australians in need were faring.

“The care and compassion was sincere.”

Sir Hurley spoke to the nation a day after Britain’s longest-serving monarch died at Balmoral at the age of 96, after presiding over the Commonwealth for more than 70 years.

He will now officially represent her eldest son and heir, King Charles III, in Canberra.

Sir Hurley said the Queen had admired Australians’ easy‐going approach to life and sense of humour.

“Her visits and messages of support in good times and in difficult, sometimes tragic, times have been well received,” he said.

Sir Hurley said it was clear to him that, even though the Queen’s life had ended, “her example to us all has not”.

“That example of selfless service, devotion to duty and compassion for others is both an enduring legacy and a gift to us all,” he said.

“She consistently demonstrated tireless and selfless service, devotion to duty and a compassion for others.”

Sir Hurley said these were values to which all should aspire.

He said many Australians would have memories from one or more of the Queen’s 16 visits to Australia.

“I remember my Mother telling me about how she held me up as a baby as Her Majesty’s motorcade passed by in 1954,” he said.

He said the Queen had witnessed “Australia’s growth and change” during her reign.

“Throughout all of this, Her Majesty respected the will of the Australian people. She understood that we are our own people and that we control our destiny,” he said.

The Queen’s death is set to intensify calls for Australia to break away from the Commonwealth and become a republic with its own head of state following the respected monarch’s death.

The Australian Republican Movement (ARM) issued its own statement expressing its condolences and acknowledging the Queen’s “significant contribution” to Australia.

ARM chair Peter FitzSimons said the country had flourished under her reign and said it was “unlikely we will ever see a Monarch as respected or admired by the Australian people again”.

The organisation suggested the death of the beloved monarch was the time to renew calls for Australian independence, which it says the Queen herself supported.

Anthony Albanese has confirmed he and Sir Hurley will travel to London in the coming days to attend the Queen’s funeral and meet the new king.

Events to commemorate the Queen’s death will be held over the next two weeks as the Prime Minister and governor-general action a longstanding plan.

Originally published as Governor-General David Hurley speaks to Australia following Queen Elizabeth II’s death

Read related topics:Queen Elizabeth

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