'Last time we do our duty to the Queen': King’s Guard rehearse for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral
At 4.45 am on September 13, even before London had woken up, the troops, dressed in full regalia, were rehearsing for the Queen's funeral
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: The King's Guard were seen rehearsing for Queen Elizabeth II's funeral very early on Tuesday, September 13. Union Jacks lined the Mall outside Buckingham Palace as the soldiers marched with funeral marches by Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Chopin playing in the back.
The troops were dressed in their ceremonial attire, practicing in the inner courtyard after 4.45 am. According to The Sun, this is the only practice the regiments will be doing ahead of receiving the Queen's coffin, which will remain in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace overnight.
The early morning practice, known as Operation Lion, saw a black coffin placed on the horse-drawn carriage of the King's Troop Royal House Artillery. It marched from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where the Queen will lie ahead of her funeral on Monday, September 19.
As per the outlet, the senior officer in charge said that taking part in the procession is "our last opportunity to do our duty for the Queen." The real procession is set to take place at 2.22 pm BST on Wednesday, September 14.
Meanwhile, Major General Christopher Ghika, of the Household division said, "For everybody on parade it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's a very sad day, but it's our last opportunity to do our duty for the Queen and it's our first opportunity to do it for the King, and that makes us all very proud." He is in-charge for organising the ceremonial aspects of the Queen's funeral.
As per the report, preparations for the procession have been going on since the Queen's death on Thursday, September 8. Sergeant Tom Jenks, from the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, said that the horses had been specially trained for the funeral, which included handling mourners, as well as flowers and flags being thrown on to the procession. Jenks will lead the gun carriage that pulls the Queen's coffin. He said, "The horses go through preparations and training, so they get taken away after we've been training for our normal daily routines. They get exposure to loud noises, crowds, flags, flowers, people sobbing, even to the point of banging lots of drums and making aggressive noises." He added that the main problem for the horses would be to walk slowly. Jenks said, "They've struggled to slow them down, and it's quite a tall order to ask them to walk at a slow march pace."
On Saturday, September 10, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen would be honored with a state funeral on Monday, September 19 at Westminster Abbey in Central London. This the first time since the 18th century that a service for a monarch will be held in the abbey.