Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard shares her memories of the Queen

Julia Gillard shares her memories meeting with the Queen – during which the former Prime Minister caused controversy by declining to curtsy: ‘All of us knew it was going to be the last time she was in Australia’

Julia Gillard has recalled her meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 with fondness. 

Speaking on the day of the late Royal’s funeral, the former Prime Minister of Australia told The Project that she understood the gravity of the visit. 

‘At the time all of us knew it was going to be the last time she was in Australia’ the politician, 60, said. 

Julia Gillard (pictured) has recalled her meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 with fondness. Speaking on the day of the late Royal's funeral, the former Prime Minister of Australia told The Project that she understood the gravity of the visit

Julia Gillard (pictured) has recalled her meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 with fondness. Speaking on the day of the late Royal’s funeral, the former Prime Minister of Australia told The Project that she understood the gravity of the visit

‘I mean, it was never said but of course it was assumed that would be her last visit. And she came because we were hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth. 

‘She took the opportunity to visit very widely around Australia in recognition that would be the last time she would get to say hello and goodbye in a personal visiting sense to the people of Australia.’

Gillard went on: ‘I do remember how well received she was. How big the crowds were. I remember her quiet diplomacy in and around the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and I remember her sense of fun. 

'At the time all of us knew it was going to be the last time she was in Australia' the politician, 60, said. Pictured with the Queen during her visit to Australia in 2011

‘At the time all of us knew it was going to be the last time she was in Australia’ the politician, 60, said. Pictured with the Queen during her visit to Australia in 2011

'She took the opportunity to visit very widely around Australia in recognition that would be the last time she would get to say hello and goodbye in a personal visiting sense to the people of Australia' the former PM said

‘She took the opportunity to visit very widely around Australia in recognition that would be the last time she would get to say hello and goodbye in a personal visiting sense to the people of Australia’ the former PM said 

‘We did things like a formal cocktail party at the Great Hall in Parliament House, and when the toast came to the Queen, I was joking with her that she should take a sip of her champagne and she was very, “Oh, no, you never drink when it’s a toast to yourself.” 

‘I’m like, “That’s a life lesson I didn’t know.” All of these I’ve been cheerfully sipping away if people raise a toast. She was good fun.’

The Queen was the only reigning British monarch to have ever visited Australia, starting in 1954 when she was just 27.

Queen Elizabeth II made 16 trips to Australia from February 1954 to October 2011, when Australia's first female prime minister Julia Gillard hosted a reception for her at Parliament House in Canberra, causing controversy during that visit when she declined to curtsy. Pictured at Fairbairn air base

Queen Elizabeth II made 16 trips to Australia from February 1954 to October 2011, when Australia’s first female prime minister Julia Gillard hosted a reception for her at Parliament House in Canberra, causing controversy during that visit when she declined to curtsy. Pictured at Fairbairn air base

Queen Elizabeth II made 16 trips to Australia from February 1954 to October 2011.

On that final tour Australia’s first female prime minister Julia Gillard hosted a reception for her at Parliament House in Canberra and caused controversy when she declined to curtsy.

Gillard was one of six prime ministers born during the Queen’s reign, including fellow Labor PM Anthony Albanese.

The Queen was the only reigning British monarch to have ever visited Australia and made 16 tours starting in 1954 (Sydney visit pictured) when she was just 27 - during a reign that coincided with the birth of six prime ministers

The Queen was the only reigning British monarch to have ever visited Australia and made 16 tours starting in 1954 (Sydney visit pictured) when she was just 27 – during a reign that coincided with the birth of six prime ministers

The Queen’s reign covered the terms of 16 Australian prime ministers, starting with Sir Robert Menzies – Australia’s longest-serving PM.

Her affection with the Australian people was cemented a year after her coronation when she set foot at Farm Cove in Sydney on February 3, 1954.

With her husband Prince Philip by her side, she toured every capital city except Darwin and 40 country towns over two months as their son Prince Charles and daughter Princess Anne stayed in England.

Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke (left) hosted the Queen in May 1988, Australia's bicentennial year, when she visited to open the new Australian Parliament House. Hawke campaigned for a republic 11 years later

Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke (left) hosted the Queen in May 1988, Australia’s bicentennial year, when she visited to open the new Australian Parliament House. Hawke campaigned for a republic 11 years later

An estimated 75 per cent of the Australian population – numbering just 8.8million people 68 years ago – turned out to see her.

On Monday, the Queen passed Buckingham Palace for the final time followed by her mourning family as her coffin was carried from Westminster Abbey and through London after her state funeral. 

Her Majesty will be laid to rest in Windsor next to her beloved husband Prince Philip and her parents. 

On Monday, the Queen passed Buckingham Palace for the final time followed by her mourning family as her coffin was carried from Westminster Abbey and through London after her state funeral

On Monday, the Queen passed Buckingham Palace for the final time followed by her mourning family as her coffin was carried from Westminster Abbey and through London after her state funeral

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