Horses, troops and military bands performed a full dress rehearsal before daybreak for the procession that will take Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Parliament’s Westminster Hall.
Officials say the horses taking part in the solemn procession this afternoon have undergone special training, including how to handle mourners and flowers and flags being thrown toward the procession.
“They get exposure to loud noises, crowds, flags, flowers, people sobbing, even to the point of banging lots of drums and making aggressive noises,” said Sergeant Tom Jenks, who will be leading the gun carriage that carries the queen’s coffin.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence on Wednesday shared photos of the Armed Forces’ dress rehearsal for the funeral. Here’s one of them:
Among the horses is Cassius, an 18-year-old horse who participated in former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s funeral in 2013.
The procession on Wednesday afternoon will feature King Charles III and other royals walking behind the queen’s coffin to Westminster Hall in Parliament. The queen’s coffin will lie in state for four days for people to pay their respects.
Huge crowds are expected for Wednesday’s somber afternoon procession, and long lines are also predicted to view the coffin at Parliament’s Westminster Hall.
Mourners are standing behind metal barriers or sitting on folding chairs.
Under gray skies hours before the coffin was scheduled to leave the monarch’s official London residence, they have umbrellas at the ready and takeout coffees in hand.
The coffin will be taken on a horse-drawn gun carriage past the crowds of mourners, with the queen’s son and heir King Charles III and other royals walking behind.
The queen died in Scotland last Thursday at age 96, ending a 70-year reign.
Crowds have lined the route of the queen’s coffin whenever it has been moved on its journey from Scotland back to London.
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