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 caught their first glimpse of what Saturday’s 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 and Royal Navy, including a platoon of Gurkas.
Police shut roads as the military and other emergency services geared up for the big day with 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
The Ascot Landau carriage, that has been chosen by the newlyweds to take part in the procession, was being pulled by two Windsor grey horses
The carriage leaves Windsor Castle and was drawn by two horses that will be used on Saturday
A member of the Household Cavalry stares straight ahead as he leads the procession (left) along with his colleagues on horseback
The shutters were pulled down and the doors were closed shut on the horse-drawn Ascot Landau carriage as members of the public watched on and took photos on their camera phones
Everyone who had lined the route grabbed their camera phones to take a picture of the carriage as it made its way through Windsor this afternoon
Seaman from the Royal Marines Band Service took part in today’s procession underneath clear blue skies and warm temperatures
The Household Cavalry leave the Victoria Barracks near Windsor Castle as rehearsals are underway for the royal wedding
Royal well-wishers watched on from behind metal barriers as members of the Household Cavalry on horseback made their way through Windsor
The procession continued along the Long Walk leading back to Windsor Castle after it passed through the town
The procession travelling along the Long Walk, with TV broadcast areas visible to the left that will beam footage of the event around the world
More than 250 members of the armed forces, including soldiers from the Household Cavalry will take part in the rehearsal
The Band of the Irish Guards march below huge Union Jack flags that adorn the High Street
Four Windsor grey horses pull the royal Ascot Landau carriage as it passes through Windsor surrounded by soldiers on horsebak
The procession, cheered on by thousands of spectators march past Windsor Castle as they make their way along the procession route
The military procession began at 11am and saw members of the military dressed in ceremonial uniform
The Ascot Landau carriage also took part in the procession, which has been chosen by the newlyweds for their open top tour of the town when they are husband and wife.
It is used in official and ceremonial state events, and will pulled by Windsor grey horses. The horses seen during today’s parade will be the same one’s used on Saturday.
There are five carriages like the one seen today, which are kept in the Royal Mews. They take their name because they are used during the Queen’s procession at Royal Ascot ever year.
Kensington Palace confirmed that the armed forces taking part included the Irish Guards, the British Army, including members of the Gurkha regiment, the Army Air Corps, the Royal Navy and the Household Cavalry.
Lynda Moore, 70, from Ontario, Canada, had come to Britain especially for the royal wedding and was watching today’s 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.
Windsor was brought to a standstill today as the military parade took place, which included soldiers from the Coldstream Guards
The final stages of the procession involving Prince Harry and Meghan will end on the Long Walk, pictured
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
The whole parade route was lined with spectators, including along the Long Walk, which leads to Windsor Castle from the town
Police officers on horseback lead the parade along the streets of the Berkshire town
A young boy wearing a paper crown adorned with the Union flag joined thousands of others watching the event
Blue skies greeted the procession as members of the military marched along Saturday’s parade route
Some of the many members of the armed forces on horseback who made their way along the procession route for the rehearsal
The military brass band created a carnival atmosphere in the town with just two days to go until the real celebrations begin
The military marched through the Union Jack lined streets watched on by thousands of royal fans desperate to get a glimpse of what Saturday will bring
Gurkha soldiers also marched down Windsor High Street alongside their colleagues from the armed forces
Police officers rode alongside the procession, which included the royal Ascot Landau carriage that will transport the newlyweds on Saturday
The parade marched past a statue of Queen Victoria in the town centre with the famous Windsor Castle in the background
One of the Gurkha soldiers proudly joined his colleagues to take part in today’s preparations for the wedding on Saturday
Soldiers from the Gurkhas marched along the procession route proudly displaying their service medals
Royal well wishers packed the streets around Windsor Castle as organisers made the final touches to their wedding preparations
‘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.
The carriages have been used for Coronations, Royal Weddings and State Visits and two of them were used in the carriage procession following the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011
The Band of the Irish Guards play their instruments to the adoring crowds enjoying the warm weather today
Officers from the Navy carried rifles as they march down Windsor High street
Representatives from the Army, Navy and RAF joined in the parade ahead of the wedding of the year
Windsor Castle provided a perfect backdrop for the event that began at 11am this morning
Beating drums of a military brass band heralded the arrival of the wedding cortège at Windsor Castle
Members of the military, including soldiers from the Household Cavalry, pictured, marched the parade route today
Also joining in on the rehearsal were members of the military on horseback, dressed in their ceremonial military uniforms
Huge crowds of people tuned out to watch the procession today through the streets of Windsor, two days before the ceremony
Gurkha soldiers were among the 250 members of the armed forces that marched through Windsor
The procession heads along Long Walk to the gates of Windsor Castle
‘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.’
Later the royal couple were spotted arriving at Windsor Castle after Meghan was forced to confirm that her father has pulled out two days before the nuptials.
The American-born actress smiled as she arrived at Windsor Castle but she is said to be ‘tearful and embarrassed’ about the chaos Thomas Markle has caused.
Mr Markle is in hospital following heart surgery days after he embarrassed his daughter with a series of ‘staged’ paparazzi photographs that threatened to overshadow her big day.
Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the military procession today
Security was tight in the Berkshire town, with armed officers on patrol before today’s dress rehearsal began
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
Among the huge crowds of well-wishers included these two super-fans who were dressed head to toe in Union flag clothing with messages of support for the soon-to-be married couple
Members of the Coldstream Guards on parade through Windsor during a dress rehearsal, two days before they do it for real
The procession, which comes two days before the big day, was broadcast around the world, and gave fans a glimpse of what will happen following the ceremony on Saturday
The couple’s Range Rover was escorted by police as they sped past crowds of well-wishers and up the famous Long Walk to oversee the last preparations for their wedding day.
Before any rehearsals began 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 – planned to use the dress rehearsal to assess any potential security threats or bottlenecks and crowd surges.
As many as 100,000 visitors are expected to flock to the Berkshire town this weekend – which has a population of 35,000 – to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.
Up to 250 members of the British Army, Navy and RAF marched side by side in the military procession
The procession left the gates of Windsor Castle from 11am along Castle Hill
The horse-drawn carriage pulls onto Long Walk on its final approach to Windsor Castle
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
Police also took up position on the rooftops as they watched the crowds below
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
Security in Windsor is being ramped up ahead of the wedding in two days time, with members of the military and police providing protection for the event
Two police officers mounted on horseback patrol the roads in Windsor, which are packed out with visitors watching today’s rehearsals for Saturday
The procession began 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 1pm, after the hour-long service at St George’s Chapel.
Both families will wave off the newlyweds on their carriage procession, which is expected to last about 25 minutes.
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
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
Thousands of royal fans turned out to watch today’s military procession, hanging home-made banners from the metal barriers lining the route
Armed police officers stand guard as they patrolled the town this morning ahead of the arrival of thousands of spectators
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.
In a letter to residents living near the town centre earlier