As darkness fell in the early hours of Tuesday, hundreds of British military personnel on horseback gathered outside Buckingham Palace to rehearse the parade they will undertake for King Charles III’ coronation on May 6.
The practice run—which covered the 1.3 mile route between Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace that Charles and Camilla will complete—saw uniformed officers and horse drawn carriages traveling through central London by street lamp.
Buckingham Palace, it appears, is leaving no stone unturned in its planning of the historic event; the last time Britain hosted a coronation was 70 years ago, when the late Queen Elizabeth II was crowned before more than 8,000 guests. To mark the occasion, London is receiving a royal makeover before tourists from around the world flock to the capital to join in with the festivities.
Bleachers have already been set up at Horse Guards Parade where the public will observe a 62-round salute and a six-gun salvo as part of wider military displays on the day. Carnaby Street and Regent Street, popular shopping regions in central London, will be decorated with large Union Jack flags and extravagant window displays at the city’s iconic stores. Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade will also display the national flowers of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
These visuals can be expected at homes and venues across the country, particularly at the seven pubs located across the procession route. Airports are also starting to sell coronation-themed memorabilia for tourists to collect and British heritage brands will roll out limited edition products.
A Royal Air Force college undertook its own rehearsal on April 26, as more than 30 aircrafts took to the skies for a practice run. The actual fly-past will see 68 military aircrafts flying over Buckingham Palace on May 6, the first of which will be a Juno HT1 helicopter from RAF Shawbury, flown by Flight Lieutenant Tom Knapp.
Meanwhile, Westminster Abbey, where Charles and Camilla will be crowned in a symbolic ceremony carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury, closed to the public for preparations on April 25. Royal Albert Hall, a world famous concert hall, will host a sold out coronation themed prom, while the Ritz hotel will hold a ball where tickets will set each attendee back by £1,250 ($1,553).
Away from the glitz and glamor, a huge security effort has been underway for weeks as police and transport officials prepare to host an influx of people. The Times of London reported that a Fixated Threat Assessment Centre has been established, consisting of a joint effort between police and mental health units who have been vetting royal-obsessed individuals to monitor any risks. London’s Metropolitan Police are also coordinating intelligence efforts to prevent potential threats from terrorist groups and minimize disruption caused by environmental protesters.
As London is brought to life with novelty decorations and parties, TIME has selected the best images of the city’s transformation so far.
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