Queen Elizabeth mourned at the official ceremony in Parliament House

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In 1988, she stood there in the flesh, dressed in flaming red, to formally declare Australia’s new Parliament House open.

Thirty-four years later, Sir William Dargie’s famous portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in a wattle-colored dress was displayed in the center of the Great Hall of Parliament at the national memorial service for the late monarch.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaking at the Queen's memorial service in the Great Hall of Parliament.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaking at the Queen’s memorial service in the Great Hall of Parliament.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

It was an understated and distinctly Australian occasion, with a bit of partying to go along with it The Queen’s funeral in London Earlier this week.

Melissa Doyle, the former host of Channel Seven’s Sunrisewas master of ceremonies; Australian idol runner-up Anthony Callea sang the national anthem. The Australian Girls’ Choir performed the Queen’s wedding hymn, Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepherd).

Seated in the invitation-only crowd of 700 were Supreme Court judges, premiers, defense chiefs and department secretaries. Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian was there, but no sign of his Russian counterpart.

Among former prime ministers, the devout republican Paul Keating was in line with monarchists John Howard and Scott Morrison, while Tony Abbott, who led the charge for an Australian republic in the 1990s, was notably absent.

Former Prime Ministers (middle row RL) Scott Morrison with wife Jenny, John Howard with wife Janette and Paul Keating at the service.

Former Prime Ministers (middle row RL) Scott Morrison with wife Jenny, John Howard with wife Janette and Paul Keating at the service.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Most of the current MPs were in attendance, but Greens senator Lidia Thorpe marched instead in an “abolish the monarchy” rally in Melbourne.

Sitting on the lawns outside on a gloomy Canberra day, a few hundred people gathered to watch the event on big screens. Michael and Eileen Smith, originally from Yorkshire, said they wanted to come to mark a “moment in history”.

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