Hundreds of soldiers rehearse procession in Windsor ahead of Queen’s funeral

Soldiers rehearsing in Windsor Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Hundreds of soldiers have taken part in early-morning rehearsals in Windsor ahead of the Queen’s funeral.

After Monday’s service at Westminster Abbey, the late monarch’s coffin will be driven from London to the Berkshire town in the state hearse.

The hearse will then travel in procession to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle via the Long Walk, which will be lined by members of the armed forces.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, marching bands playing music and Grenadier Guards flanking a hearse were spotted rehearsing ahead of the service.

Mounted police officers walked in front of the procession, followed by members of the Life Guards carrying swords, as well as a pipe band dressed in tartan and members of the Household Cavalry.

Around 30 Grenadier Guards, walking in two single-file lines, marched alongside the hearse.

Grenadier Guards walked alongside the hearse Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

The Grenadier Guards is one of the most senior regiments in the British Army with soldiers recognised by the scarlet tunic and bearskin uniforms they wear on ceremonial duty at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

After the rehearsal, Coldstream Guards and members of the Royal Navy could be seen marching down the High Street in Windsor and towards Victoria barracks.

Lt Col Fred Wells, Commander 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards, told the PA news agency: “It’s a huge honour.

The hearse will travel via the Long Walk Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

“There’s such a range of emotions that I think we’ve all felt over the last week, huge sadness that we’ve lost, in the Coldstream Guards, our Colonel-in-chief, for the armed forces our Commander-in-chief, and for the nation, the Queen.

“But at the same time there’s a real sense of excitement that we’re taking part in something quite special that for all of us will probably be one of the most momentous parades of our careers and probably one of the most momentous days of our lives.”

One spectator said she set her alarm at 3.15am to watch the rehearsals.

The rehearsal took place on Saturday morning Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Katharine Horsfall said: “It’s been quite a long wait to get to the bit that I really wanted to see which was quite beautiful really, so on the day I think it will be an amazing tribute to the Queen.

“A great send-off with all the pageantry that she so well deserves.”

Another, Helen Spencer, said: “It’s very emotional. I think the thump of the drums makes your heart beat kind of in rhythm and that goes right through, it gives you goosebumps.

Coldstream Guards could be seen in the town Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

“Incredibly emotional, but very proud.”

The state hearse will approach the castle through Shaw Farm Gate on Windsor’s Albert Road, moving via the Long Walk, Cambridge Gate, Cambridge Drive, George IV Gate, Quadrangle (South and West sides), Engine Court, Norman Arch, Chapel Hill, Parade Ground and Horseshoe Cloister Arch.

Leading the procession and walking ahead of the coffin will be a dismounted detachment of the Household Cavalry Regiment, followed by a mounted division of the Sovereign’s Escort, a Massed Pipes and Drums of Scottish and Irish Regiments, the Bands of the Coldstream Guards and the Household Cavalry, officers of the Household Division, the Kings, Heralds and Pursuivants of Arms and members of the Queen’s personal staff.

Members of the Royal Navy marched towards Victoria barracks Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

In the centre, the state hearse is to be flanked by the pall bearers and an escort party consisting of two officers and 24 rank and file of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

Positioned in the front and rear will be The Queen’s Company Colour, the Royal Standard of the Regiment of Grenadier Guards, and a Sovereign’s Standard of the Household Cavalry.

Behind will be members of the Queen’s, the King’s and the Prince of Wales’s households, followed by further mounted and dismounted detachments of the Household Cavalry.

A marching band was also seen Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Later in the evening, there will be a private interment service with senior members of the royal family.

The Queen’s final resting place will be the King George VI memorial chapel, an annex to the main chapel – where her mother and father were buried, along with the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret.

The late Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin will move from the Royal Vault to the memorial chapel to join the Queen’s.