Royal wedding: Thousands of fans line Windsor streets for rehearsal

  • A dress rehearsal for the royal wedding is taking place in Windsor today with the town in lockdown
  • Roads on the procession route near Windsor Castle are shut as the military gear up for the big day 
  • Royal well wishers packed the streets around Windsor Castle as organisers made their final touches
  • More than 250 members of the armed forces will take part in the rehearsal - along with the couple's carriage   

By Ed Riley and Nick Fagge In Windsor For Mailonline

Published: 06:15 EDT, 17 May 2018 | Updated: 07:39 EDT, 17 May 2018

Hundreds of members of the armed forces today marched through Windsor as huge crowds lined the streets to watch the royal wedding dress rehearsal.

Fans were given their first glimpse of what Saturday's global event will bring as the Berkshire town was packed with well-wishers who had turned out to watch the military procession. 

Beating drums of a military brass band heralded the arrival of the wedding cortège at Windsor Castle, and they were followed by different regiments of the British Army, navy and airforce including a platoon of Gurkas.

Roads around the route were shut as the military, police and emergency services geared up for the big day as the final touches were being put on Prince Harry and Meghan's big day.

The horse-drawn royal Carriage left Windsor Castle surrounded by a mounted platoon of the Household Cavalry, with the shutters pulled down and the doors closed shut.

The procession was followed by a team from the Diplomatic Protection Group In a black Range Rover and by a green Landrover. 

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An aerial view of the procession today with Windsor Castle in the background showing thousands of people had lined the streets to come out to watch
An aerial view of the procession today with Windsor Castle in the background showing thousands of people had lined the streets to come out to watch

An aerial view of the procession today with Windsor Castle in the background showing thousands of people had lined the streets to come out to watch

The Royal Carriage left Windsor Castle surrounded by a mounted platoon of the Household Cavalry
The Royal Carriage left Windsor Castle surrounded by a mounted platoon of the Household Cavalry

The Royal Carriage left Windsor Castle surrounded by a mounted platoon of the Household Cavalry

The shutters were pulled down and the doors were closed shut on the horse-drawn carriage as members of the public watched on
The shutters were pulled down and the doors were closed shut on the horse-drawn carriage as members of the public watched on

The shutters were pulled down and the doors were closed shut on the horse-drawn carriage as members of the public watched on

The procession continued along the Long Walk leading back to Windsor Castle after it passed through the town
The procession continued along the Long Walk leading back to Windsor Castle after it passed through the town

The procession continued along the Long Walk leading back to Windsor Castle after it passed through the town

More than 250 members of the armed forces, including soldiers from the Household Cavalry will take part in the rehearsal
More than 250 members of the armed forces, including soldiers from the Household Cavalry will take part in the rehearsal

More than 250 members of the armed forces, including soldiers from the Household Cavalry will take part in the rehearsal

The military procession began at 11am and saw members of the military dressed in ceremonial uniform
The military procession began at 11am and saw members of the military dressed in ceremonial uniform

The military procession began at 11am and saw members of the military dressed in ceremonial uniform

Royal well wishers packed the streets around Windsor Castle as organisers made the final touches to their wedding preparations
Royal well wishers packed the streets around Windsor Castle as organisers made the final touches to their wedding preparations

Royal well wishers packed the streets around Windsor Castle as organisers made the final touches to their wedding preparations

Well-wishers lined the streets of Windsor as they watched the military rehearsal take place this afternoon
Well-wishers lined the streets of Windsor as they watched the military rehearsal take place this afternoon

Well-wishers lined the streets of Windsor as they watched the military rehearsal take place this afternoon

Soldiers marched through the streets carrying rifles in a dry run ahead of Saturday's event
Soldiers marched through the streets carrying rifles in a dry run ahead of Saturday's event

Soldiers marched through the streets carrying rifles in a dry run ahead of Saturday's event

Members of the military marched the parade route today
Members of the military marched the parade route today

Members of the military marched the parade route today

Beating drums of a military brass band heralded the arrival of the wedding cortège at Windsor Castle
Beating drums of a military brass band heralded the arrival of the wedding cortège at Windsor Castle

Beating drums of a military brass band heralded the arrival of the wedding cortège at Windsor Castle

The Ascot Landau carriage is also expected to take part in the procession. It is used in official and ceremonial state events, the carriage will be pulled by Windsor grey horses. 

Lynda Moore, 70, from Ontario, Canada, had come to Britain especially for the royal wedding and was watching today's rehearsal. 

And she was outside Windsor Castle today to watch the rehearsal.

‘It’s just so great,’ Mrs Moore told MailOnline.

‘We all live the royal family in Canada. As you know Queen Elizabeth is our monarch too, ‘I think Prince Harry is a lovely young man and Meghan is very beautiful.’

Mary, 62, from Auckland, New Zealand, had also come to the UK because of the marriage.  

Also joining in the rehearsal were members of the military on horseback
Also joining in the rehearsal were members of the military on horseback

Also joining in the rehearsal were members of the military on horseback

Huge crowds of people tuned out to watch the procession today through the streets of Windsor, two days before the ceremony
Huge crowds of people tuned out to watch the procession today through the streets of Windsor, two days before the ceremony

Huge crowds of people tuned out to watch the procession today through the streets of Windsor, two days before the ceremony

‘My sister lives in Windsor so I thought, why not?

‘Today has been pretty hectic with the crowds. I can only imagine how busy it will be in Saturday!’ 

Suneek Dhand, 37, from Datchet, came home especially to be in Windsor for the wedding.

Dr Dhand, who now works in Boston, USA, told Mailonline: ‘I coincided my holiday with the royal wedding.

‘We, my family, only live down the road in Datchet so I really wanted to be part of it.

‘Windsor High Street is where we do our banking so we feel part of it. Our bank is across the road from the Castle.’ 

Mother of two Gillian Frost said she looking forward to the big day. 

Mrs Frost , 38, said: ‘I’ve got two little girls who live the idea that Meghan Markle is going to become a princess.

‘We live in Windsor so the wedding and all the preparations have become part of our lives.

‘But even if we lived miles away we would come here to be part of it.’

Earlier armed police and specially trained sniffer dogs patrolled the streets of the royal town, with squadrons of uniformed officers with machine guns toured the town in rotation.

Their colleagues checked drains, bins and any other potential hiding places for bombs as the Berkshire town was turned into a fortress.

Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police - who guard the Royals – are using the dress rehearsal to assess any potential security threats or bottlenecks and crowd surges. 

Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the military procession today
Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the military procession today

Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the military procession today

Broadcast networks from America and across the world are also setting up in anticipation of a glimpse of what Saturday will bring.  

The crowd clapped and cheered as army officials marched into the royal residences as part of the marriage rehearsal. 

Roads on the procession route near the wedding venue were all shut as the military, police and other emergency services went through their final preparations.

As many as 100,000 visitors are expected to flock to the Berkshire town - which has a population of 35,000 - to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.

A guide to the timings of the event on Saturday, from when the first guests arrive at 9.30am to the reception at 7pm
A guide to the timings of the event on Saturday, from when the first guests arrive at 9.30am to the reception at 7pm

A guide to the timings of the event on Saturday, from when the first guests arrive at 9.30am to the reception at 7pm

Police officers walk down Long Walk, part of the procession route, leading away from Windsor Castle
Police officers walk down Long Walk, part of the procession route, leading away from Windsor Castle

Police officers walk down Long Walk, part of the procession route, leading away from Windsor Castle

After the ceremony Prince Harry and his new wife will travel through Windsor in the Ascot Landau carriage
After the ceremony Prince Harry and his new wife will travel through Windsor in the Ascot Landau carriage

After the ceremony Prince Harry and his new wife will travel through Windsor in the Ascot Landau carriage

Several hundred members of the Army, Navy and the RAF - in full Military dress - will follow the route the couple will take in their horse drawn carriage today. 

No members of the royal family or wider wedding party will be present during the final preparations. 

The procession will start from Castle Hill through the High Street and on to the Long Walk and back into Windsor Castle via Cambridge Gate.  

While officers hope to re-open the roads immediately afterwards they may have to re-think if there are large crowds gathering in the town. 

On Saturday the procession will take place at 13:00 BST, after the hour-long service at St George's Chapel. 

Squadrons of uniformed officers with machine guns toured the town in rotation as their colleagues check drains bins and any other potential hiding places for bombs 
Squadrons of uniformed officers with machine guns toured the town in rotation as their colleagues check drains bins and any other potential hiding places for bombs 

Squadrons of uniformed officers with machine guns toured the town in rotation as their colleagues check drains bins and any other potential hiding places for bombs 

Security personnel patrol the roof of Windsor Castle with just two days to go before the ceremony
Security personnel patrol the roof of Windsor Castle with just two days to go before the ceremony

Security personnel patrol the roof of Windsor Castle with just two days to go before the ceremony

Roads on the procession route near the wedding venue are shut as the military, police and other emergency services gear up for the big day
Roads on the procession route near the wedding venue are shut as the military, police and other emergency services gear up for the big day

Roads on the procession route near the wedding venue are shut as the military, police and other emergency services gear up for the big day

Both families will wave off the newlyweds on their carriage procession, which is expected to last about 25 minutes. 

The Royal borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has warned people to set off at 4am because all nearby car parks are likely to be full by 6am.

The wedding will be one of the most heavily guarded events in history, with police snipers perched on roof-tops, special-forces troops mingling with crowds and road blocks in place.

A no-fly zone will also be in force during the service. 

Two police officers mounted on horseback patrol the roads in Windsor, which are packed out with visitors watching today's rehearsals for Saturday
Two police officers mounted on horseback patrol the roads in Windsor, which are packed out with visitors watching today's rehearsals for Saturday

Two police officers mounted on horseback patrol the roads in Windsor, which are packed out with visitors watching today's rehearsals for Saturday

People have been camping along the procession route up to a week in advance of the wedding, with visitors from across the world making the trip to Windsor for the occasion
People have been camping along the procession route up to a week in advance of the wedding, with visitors from across the world making the trip to Windsor for the occasion

People have been camping along the procession route up to a week in advance of the wedding, with visitors from across the world making the trip to Windsor for the occasion

In a letter to residents living near the town centre earlier this week Alison Alexander, Managing Director of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead warned: 'During the rehearsal, on Thursday 17 May 2018, the procession route will be closed to traffic and no traffic will be allowed into the closed roads.'

Ms Alexander said that crowd control barriers will be installed along the entire route 'to enable people to view the carriage procession in a safe environment'. 

All parking in and around the castle was suspended from 12.01am this morning. 

Reinforced crash barriers to prevent a Westminster-style vehicle terror attack are already in place at strategic points in Windsor.

A police officer watches on from the rooftops as rehearsals get underway in Windsor, where tens of thousands are expected to line the route of the procession
A police officer watches on from the rooftops as rehearsals get underway in Windsor, where tens of thousands are expected to line the route of the procession

A police officer watches on from the rooftops as rehearsals get underway in Windsor, where tens of thousands are expected to line the route of the procession

A spectator shows his support for both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle by sporting a Union flag and the flag of the United States of America
A spectator shows his support for both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle by sporting a Union flag and the flag of the United States of America

A spectator shows his support for both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle by sporting a Union flag and the flag of the United States of America

Union jack flags are displayed in the street in front of Windsor Castle, as festivities get underway two days before the wedding
Union jack flags are displayed in the street in front of Windsor Castle, as festivities get underway two days before the wedding

Union jack flags are displayed in the street in front of Windsor Castle, as festivities get underway two days before the wedding

Police with bomb-sniffing dogs are combing through every corner of the town, including post boxes, bins and phone boxes.

Undercover SAS and SBS soldiers will join the crowds on the look-out for anyone acting suspiciously and an automatic license plate recognition system will flag any known suspicious vehicles to the security services.

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