Final preparations as royal superfans flock to the Mall for King Charles III coronation
Diehard Royal Family fans are determined to get a good vantage point ahead of King Charles III's procession from Buckingham Palace.
Royal fans have continued to pack the area around Buckingham Palace ahead of the coronation of King Charles III, camping out to be part of the historic moment.
With less than 24 hours to go until the coronation celebrations begin in earnest, die-hard fans continued to pile into the Mall equipped with folding chairs, tents, sleeping bags and snacks to ensure they get a good view of the King's procession.
They included Royal Family fan, 34-year-old Bartley Graham, who arrived at The Mall on Wednesday after discharging himself from hospital.
Graham, who previously suffered a stroke, said it was ”important” to be there so he could get a good view of the procession.
He came wearing a suit printed with Union flags and carrying a cardboard cut-out of Charles, who he thinks will be “a fantastic King”.
“I like King Charles, and I definitely like Lady Camilla,” he said.
“Charles will be a fantastic King and will do a great job, he has some really strong values, and I think Lady Camilla has fallen into the role very well.”
Others seemingly putting their life on the line for the coronation include Kerry Evans, 58, from Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, who arrived at The Mall on Thursday.
She said she “would rather die” than miss the King’s coronation, adding: “Every time I come out to an event like this I end up in casualty, because I just exhaust myself, but I’ve really paced myself this time."
Nurse Sarah Exner flew from Texas in the US to camp out in central London for the occasion, saying: “we don’t have as much of the pomp and circumstance in the United States and it’s lovely to come out here and see all the traditions”.
The 29-year-old said: “It’s always been really fascinating, the monarchy. We’ve always had a wonderful time keeping up with the events.
“It’s just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to come out here for the coronation.
"They don’t happen very often and we don’t have as much of the pomp and circumstance in the United States and it’s lovely to come out here and see all the traditions.”
Meanwhile, final preparations were underway on Friday for a major transport operation ahead of hundreds of thousands of people descending on central London.
Roadworks on major roads across England have been lifted and train services will be beefed up to cope with demand.
People arriving in the capital on Saturday have been urged to consider walking to viewing areas as public transport will be very busy.
Road closures will be enforced in large parts of central London, affecting motorists and bus users.
On Wednesday eager Royal fans saw their patience pay off when they got their first early glimpse of what to expect on Saturday after rehearsals for the coronation took place in central London.
Hundreds of soldiers, many on horseback, marched down from Buckingham Palace past Trafalgar Square and Downing Street to Westminster Abbey.
The Diamond Jubilee State Coach and Gold State Coach were marched down the Mall as part of the preparations for the full event on Saturday.
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.
Those patiently waiting for the real thing had to wait another three hours for the parade to make a return journey down the mall.
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 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.
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.
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.
Charles will travel from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for his crowning, before making his way back to the palace in the 260-year-old Gold State Coach.
With hundreds of thousands of people expected to travel to London for the UK's first coronation ceremony since 1953, the keenest of fans made sure to pitch up extra early.
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Among the devotees are Sky London and Carol Foster, who had set up tents along the Mall on Sunday ahead of the procession next Saturday.
Asked why they'd arrived so early, London, a seasoned royal camper, said: "There's a saying, the early bird catches the early worm.
"We intend to hold this place, we don't want anybody else to take it."
He said he had camped outside the Queen's funeral, the Jubilee, and the births of all three of the Prince and Princess of Wales's children.
It was at the birth of George that he met Foster, and the pair have been friends ever since.
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Not only do they meet up to celebrate their own birthdays, they also get together to mark the birthday of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Asked what she was most looking forward to about the coronation, Foster said: "Seeing everybody dressed up, the pomp and ceremony.
"I'm looking forward to seeing what Catherine and Camilla are wearing. It's a once in a lifetime thing."
John Loughrey, 68, claimed to be the first person to set up his tent on the Mall on 27 April, nine days before the coronation.