Only six days to go! Royal superfans continue camping out on The Mall ahead of King Charles’ coronation
- A number of fans have already tried to bag their spot for the procession on May 6
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Royal superfans are continuing to camp out on The Mall this weekend as they try and bag front row seats to the procession for King Charles’ coronation.
A number of royal supporters have erected temporary homes made of tarpaulin along the iconic road just over a week before the big day on May 6.
Keen observers will notice camping beds and bags of belongings underneath the huge blue mass, along with some familiar faces.
When the procession itself comes past on Saturday, with the King and Queen being taken to Westminster Abbey and back to Buckingham Palace, the stretch of road is expected to be lined with thousands of people.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that some of the keenest fans of the monarchy have got there early in an attempt to beat the last minute rush for the prime spots along The Mall.
Royal fan John Loughrey kneels next to a banner with a portrait of King Charles on it on Saturday
John Loughrey (left), Carol Foster (centre) and Sky London (right) sit next to their temporary camp on The Mall
The royal superfans have brought a huge blue tarpaulin for shelter and cover their belongings in the lead up to the big day
On the day itself the barriers are expected to be lined with thousands of royal devotees to see the procession
A huge blue tarpaulin has been attacked to the railings to keep them dry, while a camp bed and several bags can be spotted underneath
A personal shopping trolley prips up one end – but the makeshift tent can be seen billowing in the wind
Among those who has got there early is John Loughrey – a royal devotee who is no stranger for being at the front of crowds for major royal events.
READ MORE HERE: Full details of Coronation revealed with Queen Camilla to be anointed in full public view and presented with a ring which ‘marries’ her as consort to the King
Mr Loughrey, who lives in south London, earned a reputation as Princess Diana’s number one fan after quitting his job working in a kitchen so he could attend every court session of the inquest into her death in 2008.
He spent days on a bench outside the hospital where Prince George was born in 2013 and did it again for Princess Charlotte in 2015 and Prince Louis in 2018. He also attends Westminster Abbey every week to say a prayer for Diana.
And after the death of the Queen he tried to camp for the full 10 day mourning period outside Buckingham Palace – but he was told to pack away his tent for ‘security reasons’ as crowds descended.
Also joining him nice and early at the barriers are Sky London and Carol Foster, who decided to get to The Mall with six days to spare.
Mr London is also a familiar face at big royal events, having previously camped out ahead of the funeral procession of Queen Elizabeth II last September, the late-monarchs Platinum Jubilee earlier in the year and the births of all three of the Prince and Princess of Wales’s children.
Asked why he had set up camp a full week ahead of the coronation, Mr London said: ‘There’s a saying, the early bird catches the early worm.’
He added: ‘We intend to hold this place, we don’t want anybody else to take it.’
It was at the birth of Prince George that he met Ms Foster, and the pair have since become firm friends, meeting up to celebrate their own birthdays, as well as the birthday of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Asked what she was most looking forward to about the coronation, Ms 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.’
Members of the Household Division rehearse the military accompaniment to the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla at Aldershot Barracks
Around 700 Guardsmen, officers and bands of the Household Division took part in the rehearsal ahead of procession on May 6
King Charles III will be crowned as the UK’s reigning monarch on Saturday, 6 May at Westminster Abbey.
Although she was previously set to be known as Queen Consort, Camilla will also crowned as Queen at the ceremony.
In line with a tradition dating back centuries, King Charles III’s coronation ceremony will be held at Westminster Abbey.
READ MORE HERE: Coronation will be a family affair for Coldstream Guards officer set to carry flag from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace – his ancestor carried sword of state when Charles II was restored to the throne in 1661
The ceremony will begin at 11am, once the royals have completed their arrival procession from Buckingham Palace. People can line the streets of London to catch a glimpse of the royals, with huge crowds expected given the significance of the event.
The ceremony – which will be broadcast on the BBC – is believed to last about an hour, although exact details on the timings of service and its duration remain unclear. Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 took three hours.
Following the ceremony, a return procession, following the same route back, will begin.
In the afternoon, 15 members of the royal family will gather on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the traditional fly-past to pay homage to Charles and Camilla.
It comes as members of the Household Division rehearse the military accompaniment to the coronation at Aldershot Barracks.
Around 700 Guardsmen, officers and bands of the Household Division took part in the rehearsal ahead of the big day.
The coronation will see the largest military ceremonial operation in 70 years, with more than 6,000 men and women of the UK’s armed forces taking part in the historic royal event.
Sailors, soldiers, and aviators from across the UK and the breadth of the Commonwealth will accompany Charles and Camilla to and from Westminster Abbey.
Later in the day, military personnel will conduct a six-minute flypast of more than 60 aircraft from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.
In all corners of the Union – including at firing stations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast – gun salutes will take place to herald the moment the King is crowned.
The ceremony will also be the first major ceremonial occasion since the late Queen’s funeral in September.
Featuring more than 400 personnel, across 13 locations and deployed Royal Navy ships, 21 rounds will fire to mark the coronation with the exception of the Tower of London and Horse Guards Parade, where a 62-round salute and a six-gun salvo will fire respectively.
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