'A very special moment': First glimpse of King Charles’s Coronation procession as rehearsal makes its way down The Mall

17 April 2023, 13:57 | Updated: 17 April 2023, 14:34

Coronation rehearsal (LBC)
Onlookers got a taste of the upcoming Coronation as a rehearsal was held in front of Buckingham Palace today. Picture: Global

By James Hockaday

Fans of the Royal Family lined the Mall today as the Household Cavalry held a rehearsal for King Charles III's upcoming Coronation.

Traffic around Westminster and Victoria was brought to a complete standstill as the dry run was held in preparation for the ceremony on May 6.

It was an unexpected surprise for curious tourists, who stumbled upon the mock procession and got a taste of Royal pageantry and what to expect for the big day.

The King and Camilla, Queen Consort, will make their way from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey in the Diamond Jubilee State coach, covering a route much shorter than the one taken by Queen Elizabeth II.

Leona Henderson, 44, who was travelling the UK with her mum, Vicky, said witnessing the practice run was a very special moment for them as New Zealanders.

“They are part of our history they are part of our culture, and it’s nice to be able to see it and experience it, because we’re not going to be here for the Coronation," Leona told LBC News.

Read more: Harry and William have 'no plans for reconciliation' during Coronation despite King's 'heartfelt' talk with youngest son

Coronation rehearsal 17/04/23
The Mall was lined with Royal Family supporters and curious tourists. Picture: Global
Coronation rehearsal on 17/04/23
Preparations have reportedly encountered some stumbling blocks. Picture: Global

Vicky, from Canterbury, in New Zealand's South Island, added: “Both my mum and mother-in-law were brought up in Queen Elizabeth’s day, so they’ve followed the family through the generations."

Maggie Longhurst, 74, who was visiting London from the South Hams, Devon, caught the rehearsal by chance while on her way to the National Gallery.

An ardent supporter of the British monarchy, she'll have two reasons to celebrate when the King is officially crowned on her 75th birthday.

“I just love seeing all the horses, it’s what the sovereignty is all about to me, the pageantry," she said.

As the Royal Family enters a new era, Charles is expected to 'slim down' the monarchy and make other changes to bring it in line with the 21st century.

Read more: King Charles offers coveted coronation spots to NHS workers and Armed Forces veterans as mark of 'profound gratitude'

Gridlock traffic during Coronation rehearsal on 17/04/23
Roads around Trafalgar Square were gridlocked during the rehearsals. Picture: Global
Traffic standstill during Coronation rehearsals on 17/04/23
It was a frustrating morning for cabbies and delivery drivers. Picture: Global

Asked if the institution needs to change, Maggie said: “The Royal Family needs to modernise I think but I’m all for keeping the Sovereign. What do you replace the monarch with? It works, so why change it?”

With less than three weeks to go now, preparations for the coronation are believed to falling behind schedule due to a series of complications.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's failure to confirm if they will be attending before the RSVP deadline was said to have caused "major headaches" for seating plan organisers.

Harry has since confirmed he will attend, but Meghan will stay at home in the US with their children.

Read more: Meghan 'wouldn't want to play second fiddle to Kate' and 'would have gone to the coronation if she had a prominent role'

Coronation rehearsal 17/04/23
Onlookers told LBC how pageantry is what the Royal Family is all about. Picture: Global
Coronation rehearsal on 17/04/23
Members of the Household Cavalry are preparing for the big day on May 6. Picture: Global

There has also been confusion over whether or not Kate will wear a tiara in Westminster Abbey before the Queen Consort enters.

It still isn't clear whether Prince Andrew will be allowed to wear the Garter Knight Robes after the Royal Family distanced themselves from the Duke of York, the Mirror reports.

The King is understood to have commented on how heavy his ceremonial robes are, fuelling concerns among aides that he could end up stumbling in Westminster Abbey as the whole world watches.

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