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Queen honours Australian war dead

Australia's war dead were honoured by the Queen when she laid a wreath at the country's war memorial.

With the floral tribute the monarch paid her respects to more than 100,000 men and women who have died serving the Commonwealth country since the First World War.

The sombre mood of the occasion was matched by the weather which had changed from the blue skies and sunshine of recent days to grey clouds and intermittent rain.

The Australian War Memorial in the capital Canberra is an imposing sandstone-clad Byzantine style building with a copper-covered dome.

The nearby Bushy hills were shrouded in mist and hundreds of well-wishers had braved the wet conditions to greet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh couple when they arrived.

The Queen and Duke were taken to the impressive Hall of Memories where the remains of a First World War Australian serviceman are interred.

General Peter Cosgrove, chairman of the Australian War Memorial's council and a former head of the country's Armed Forces, stood shoulder to shoulder with the monarch, who was making her fifth visit to the national monument. At each corner of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was stood a member of a ceremonial unit from the Australian Defence Force - a soldier, sailor and an airman and woman.

Above the Queen's head was an ornate dome and she was surrounded by lavishly-decorated mosaic walls featuring more than six million coloured glass tiles in a design created by Australian artist Napier Waller.

Commander Andrew Willis, the monarch's Australian equerry, handed the Queen a wreath of red poppies with a card printed with the words "In memory of the glorious dead - Elizabeth R and Philip".

As the sovereign laid the floral tribute on a stand a single paper poppy fell to the floor and she took a few steps back and bowed her head. The Last Post was sounded by a bugler before a minute's silence was observed.

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