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Australians pay tribute to monarch

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Sydney father Danny Abdallah and Aboriginal elder and 2021 Senior Australian of the Year Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM attende the Queen’s funeral in London. Photo: Supplied
Sydney father Danny Abdallah and Aboriginal elder and 2021 Senior Australian of the Year Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM attende the Queen’s funeral in London. Photo: Supplied

Sydney father Danny Abdallah told how attending the Queen’s funeral not only brought back the sadness of his own three children’s passing, but empathy for the monarch’s family who would be experiencing their own profound grief and pain.

Invited by Buckingham Palace to attend her farewell alongside Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Governor-General David Hurley, he spoke of the raw emotion of attending the sombre event.

He said it was a “huge honour” to represent Australia at the event which was viewed by four billion people around the world, making it the most watched broadcast in history.

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“It was a beautiful experience and an honour to be a part of history,” he told media following the sombre event.

“I felt for the family and the grief and pain they will be experiencing.

“I felt a little sad as it took me back to my kids’ funeral, but I truly believe there is life after life.

“Her Majesty was a woman of deep Christian faith who demonstrated that great leaders commit themselves to the service of their people.”

“Watching the royal family come into the Abbey reminded me that the Queen was also a mother, grandmother and great grandmother.”

Mr Abdallah was one of nine “everyday Australians” and one of two prominent Catholics among the Australian contingent invited for their contributions to their respective communities.

Aboriginal elder and 2021 Senior Australian of the Year Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM was also in London honouring Britain’s longest reigning monarch and said the experience was a huge honour.

While initially surprised by the invitation, the renowned Catholic artist, activist, writer and public speaker said she agreed to attend to represent her family and all Australians.

“The thought of travelling to London was overwhelming, it’s a long way from my community on the Daly River in the NT,” she told The Catholic Weekly.

“I felt anxious going to the funeral as we crossed the bridge and made our way to the Abbey.

“Watching the royal family come into the Abbey reminded me that the Queen was also a mother, grandmother and great grandmother. Her family were sad.

“She visited the NT a few times. I remember as a little kid seeing her in Darwin. She made the effort to come and see us, so I thought I can make the effort to make the long trip to pay respect to the strong woman she was.”

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