Ready for Her Majesty's final parade: Troops stage dawn rehearsal as details of funeral route released

13 September 2022, 09:04 | Updated: 13 September 2022, 10:15

An early-morning rehearsal for the Queen's coffin procession has taken place in central London
An early-morning rehearsal for the Queen's coffin procession has taken place in central London. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

An early morning rehearsal has taken place for the procession of the Queen's coffin to Westminster Hall.

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The coffin will arrive in London from Scotland on Tuesday evening, and will remain in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace overnight before being taken to lie in state at Westminster Hall from Wednesday.

Thousands of soldiers in ceremonial uniform gathered at Buckingham Palace in the early hours of Tuesday for the practice run.

Read more: Scotland's final goodbye: Mourners bid farewell to Queen before she leaves country for the last time

Read more: Live updates: Thousands file past Queen's coffin overnight before she travels to London on Tuesday

The rehearsal took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning
The rehearsal took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Picture: Alamy
The procession makes its way down Whitehall
The procession makes its way down Whitehall. Picture: Alamy

The early-morning rehearsal saw the horse-drawn carriage of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery being led along the route.

A black coffin was placed on the gun carriage and, at around 4am, the procession was ordered to march.

Many of central London's streets were sealed off for the massive operation.

Thousands of soldiers in ceremonial uniform gathered in central London
Thousands of soldiers in ceremonial uniform gathered in central London. Picture: Alamy
The real thing will happen on Wednesday afternoon
The real thing will happen on Wednesday afternoon. Picture: Alamy
Thousands of officials took part
Thousands of officials took part. Picture: Alamy

The real procession begins at 2.22pm on Wednesday, and it will last 38 minutes.

King Charles III, members of the royal family and senior staff of the Queen and King's households are expected to walk behind the coffin.

The rehearsal, which took place before the sun came up, saw people standing in for them.

Given the time, only a few onlookers were present for the military spectacular, with some finding themselves there by chance.

The procession starts at Buckingham Palace
The procession starts at Buckingham Palace. Picture: Alamy
People stood in for members of the royal family during the rehearsal
People stood in for members of the royal family during the rehearsal. Picture: Alamy

The Government confirmed the route this morning.

The coffin will proceed along The Mall, Horse Guards Road, across Horse Guards Parade and onto Whitehall to Parliament Square and into the Palace of Westminster.

Dedicated ceremonial viewing areas will be set up along the route to allow the public to pay their respects.

These will be at the Green Park side of The Mall; the St James’s Park side of The Mall and Horse Guards Road; Horse Guards Parade ground; Whitehall (West), Parliament Street (West), and Great George Street; Whitehall (East), Parliament Street (East), and Bridge Street.

A screening site is also being erected in Hyde Park, where the ceremonial procession will be shown on large screens. This also begins from 11am.

Recommended access to the screening site is from the north side of Hyde Park, from Marlborough Gate to Marble Arch.

There are designated viewing spots for the procession
There are designated viewing spots for the procession. Picture: Alamy
The rehearsal included a replacement coffin
The rehearsal included a replacement coffin. Picture: Alamy

A small group were camping outside Buckingham Palace and witnessed the rehearsal.

John Lowell, from Streatham, south London, said he was "devastated" by the news of the Queen's death, adding: "We are all broken-hearted.

"I can't take it in."

His friend, Sky London, said they have been camping since Thursday "so we can get a good view of things" and insisted they will not leave until after the funeral, so that they can pay their "respects".

He added: "Ten days (of camping) against a 70-year reign is only a fraction."

The procession near Parliament Square
The procession near Parliament Square. Picture: Alamy
The procession will finish at Westminster Hall, where the Queen will lie in state until Monday morning
The procession will finish at Westminster Hall, where the Queen will lie in state until Monday morning. Picture: Alamy

People have been warned not to wait or camp along the route where the Queen's coffin will be taken for the lying in state.

Viewing areas along the route with limited capacity will open at 11am on the day, with people admitted in order of arrival time amid expected long queues, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said.

Read more: Army of volunteers descend on Green Park to clear plastic from floral tributes left for the Queen

Read more: Queen's coffin to be flown to London and King to travel to Northern Ireland on day four of London Bridge

The Queen's coffin will remain in Westminster Hall until Monday, when it will be taken in procession from the Palace of Westminster to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral service.

Members of the public will have the opportunity to visit Westminster Hall to pay their respects during the lying in state but security staff said the queue is likely to snake for miles, potentially all the way along the River Thames to Tower Bridge.

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