Early morning Coronation rehearsal featuring state coaches staged in London


he first glimpses of the Coronation have been revealed as rehearsals took place in central London in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Hundreds of soldiers, many on horseback, marched down from Buckingham Palace past Trafalgar Square and Downing Street to Westminster Abbey.

The Diamond Jubilee State Coach and Gold State Coach were marched down the Mall as part of the preparations for the full event on May 6.

The Diamond Jubilee State Coach was accompanied by hundreds of soldiers on horseback as it travelled along the Mall, setting off shortly after 12:20am on Wednesday.

Royal fanatics waited for over three hours for the parade to make a return journey down the Mall.

Crowds ran through St James’ Park to find the best spots near the palace with many trying to spot their relatives in their military outfits.

Hundreds of soldiers from the military, navy and RAF marched through central London before stopping along Whitehall and standing in silence.

Many carried a wide range of instruments such as saxophones, trumpets, horns and cymbals but only the drums were played by marching soldiers until they returned down the Mall after 3am.

The parade had began when soldiers dressed in bright yellow uniforms began the short journey and the brass band on horseback practised as they accompanied the stage coach as it passed through Westminster.

Onlookers skipped along next to the stage coach and ran after the regiments of mounted soldiers that followed.

Soldiers from a wide variety of regiments marched down the Mall after 1am.

Buckingham Palace remained mostly silent with soldiers quietly maintaining protocol until a regiment playing the bagpipes brought the area to life shortly after 2.30am.

At least 15 tents are already positioned along the Mall and royal fans got to test their viewpoint as they prepare to camp out until Saturday.

John Loughrey, 68, claimed to be the first person to set up his tent on the Mall on April 27, nine days before the Coronation.

He told the PA news agency: “We like the build up, the rehearsals and seeing people throughout the day.

“There are a lot of tourists and they come and say they wish they had something like this in their country.”

Mr Loughrey explained he had been camping outside royal events for 26 years and spent a month camping out after Princess Charlotte was born.

He added: “We did a lot of research. We (picked this spot) because there are no trees so you can see the Red Arrows.”

Other soldiers were spotted parading in Parliament Square and practised changing position as Big Ben chimed.

Artillery regiments rehearsed moving cannons on horseback and soldiers were seen pretending to fire the ceremonial weapons.

The procession returned to Buckingham Palace shortly after 3am with bands in full swing.

The Gold State Coach was spotted passing Buckingham Palace shortly after 3.20am.

The rehearsal took place hours after a man was arrested outside Buckingham Palace after throwing suspected shotgun cartridges into the palace grounds.

The man was held on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon after he was searched and a knife was found, but he was not carrying a gun.

Cordons were put in place and Scotland Yard said a controlled explosion was carried out as a precaution as the man had a “suspicious bag”.

Evening Standard News London