King Charles’ coronation rehearsal takes place featuring golden carriages and hundreds of armed forces

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The first glimpses of King Charles’ coronation have been revealed as rehearsals took place in central London in the early hours of Wednesday morning (May 3).

Hundreds of soldiers, many on horseback, marched from Buckingham Palace, past Trafalgar Square and Downing Street to Westminster Abbey with the Diamond Jubilee State Coach and Gold State Coach part of the procession. The early hours rehearsal for the historic coronation of King Charles III took place this morning as part of the preparations for the big day 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 fans waited for more than three hours for the parade to make a return journey down the Mall.

An early morning rehearsal of the coronation took place in LondonAn early morning rehearsal of the coronation took place in London
An early morning rehearsal of the coronation took place in London | James Manning/PA Wire

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 begun 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.

An early morning rehearsal of the coronation took place in LondonAn early morning rehearsal of the coronation took place in London
An early morning rehearsal of the coronation took place in London | Victoria Jones/PA Wire

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.”

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.

An early morning rehearsal of the coronation took place in LondonAn early morning rehearsal of the coronation took place in London
An early morning rehearsal of the coronation took place in London | James Manning/PA Wire

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.

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