First glimpse of King Charles' historic coronation parade as early morning rehearsal takes place across London

3 May 2023, 07:36 | Updated: 3 May 2023, 08:27

A rehearsal took place in the early hours of Wednesday
A rehearsal took place in the early hours of Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

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

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Hundreds of soldiers, many on horseback, marched down from Buckingham Palace past Trafalgar Square and Downing Street to Westminster Abbey in a rehearsal for the King's coronation.

Members of the military stand in front of Buckingham Palace in central London during a rehearsal for the Coronation
Members of the military stand in front of Buckingham Palace in central London during a rehearsal for the Coronation. Picture: Alamy

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.

Royal fans lined the Mall to get a first look at the parade, waiting over three hours for it to make a return journey.

The Diamond Jubilee State Coach and Gold State Coach were marched down the Mal
The Diamond Jubilee State Coach and Gold State Coach were marched down the Mal. Picture: Alamy

Crowds were also seen running through St James' Park to find the best spots near the palace with many trying to spot their relatives in their military outfits.

Members of the military march near Buckingham Palace in central London
Members of the military march near Buckingham Palace in central London. Picture: Alamy

Read more: Charles 'will be last king of the Scots', Alex Salmond says, as he blasts 'pet poodle' Humza Yousaf over Coronation role

Read more: Central London road closures commence for coronation prep – and full list of tube stations that could be closed

Early morning Coronation rehearsal featuring state coaches staged in London

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.

Troops marched in central London near Buckingham Palace and through Parliament Square
Troops marched in central London near Buckingham Palace and through Parliament Square. Picture: Alamy

The parade 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.

Members of the military band march backdropped by Buckingham Palace in central London
Members of the military band march backdropped by Buckingham Palace in central London. Picture: Alamy

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.

A night time rehearsal in central London for the coronation of King Charles III,
A night time rehearsal in central London for the coronation of King Charles III,. Picture: Alamy

John Loughrey, 68, claimed to be the first person to set up his tent on the Mall on April 27 - nine days ahead of the coronation.

"We like the build up, the rehearsals and seeing people throughout the day," he said.

A rehearsal took place in the early hours of Wednesday
A rehearsal took place in the early hours of Wednesday. Picture: Alamy

"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 the Gold State Coach spotted passing shortly after 3.20am.

Soldiers marching through London
Soldiers marching through London. Picture: Alamy

Read More: 'Adorable' never-before-seen pics of King Charles with Prince George and Princess Charlotte spotted in documentary

Read More: Call for British public to swear allegiance to King Charles just an 'invitation', Lambeth Palace clarifies after mockery

It comes after a man armed with a knife was arrested for throwing suspected shotgun cartridges into Buckingham Palace grounds.

He 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".

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