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These Photos Show How London Is Being Transformed for King Charles III’s Coronation

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As darkness fell in the early hours of Tuesday, hundreds of British military personnel on horseback gathered outside Buckingham Palace to rehearse the parade they will undertake for King Charles III’ coronation on May 6.

The practice run—which covered the 1.3 mile route between Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace that Charles and Camilla will complete—saw uniformed officers and horse drawn carriages traveling through central London by street lamp.

Buckingham Palace, it appears, is leaving no stone unturned in its planning of the historic event; the last time Britain hosted a coronation was 70 years ago, when the late Queen Elizabeth II was crowned before more than 8,000 guests. To mark the occasion, London is receiving a royal makeover before tourists from around the world flock to the capital to join in with the festivities.

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The balcony at Buckingham Palace balcony is cleaned ahead of the coronation, on April 18.
Marcin Nowak—Shutterstock The balcony at Buckingham Palace balcony is cleaned ahead of the coronation, on April 18.
Workers build a viewing grandstand opposite Buckingham Palace on April 13.
Amer Ghazzal—Shutterstock Workers build a viewing grandstand opposite Buckingham Palace on April 13.
A life-sized cardboard cut-out of King Charles II and Camilla, Queen Consort is displayed amongst the 13,283 pieces of royal memorabilia which ardent monarchist Anita Atkinson exhibits at her Weardale farm near Bishop Auckland, northern England on March 31.
Oli Scarff—AFP/Getty ImagesA life-sized cardboard cut-out of King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort is displayed amongst the 13,283 pieces of royal memorabilia which ardent monarchist Anita Atkinson exhibits at her Weardale farm near Bishop Auckland, northern England on March 31.

Bleachers have already been set up at Horse Guards Parade where the public will observe a 62-round salute and a six-gun salvo as part of wider military displays on the day. Carnaby Street and Regent Street, popular shopping regions in central London, will be decorated with large Union Jack flags and extravagant window displays at the city’s iconic stores. Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade will also display the national flowers of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

These visuals can be expected at homes and venues across the country, particularly at the seven pubs located across the procession route. Airports are also starting to sell coronation-themed memorabilia for tourists to collect and British heritage brands will roll out limited edition products.

Workers build a viewing grandstand opposite Buckingham Palace on April 13.
Amer Ghazzal—Shutterstock Workers build a viewing grandstand opposite Buckingham Palace on April 13.
A monument is cleaned near Horse Guards Parade, London, April 13.
PA Images/APA monument is cleaned near Horse Guards Parade, London, April 13.

Meanwhile, Westminster Abbey, where Charles and Camilla will be crowned in a symbolic ceremony carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury, will be closed for preparations from April 25. Royal Albert Hall, a world famous concert hall, will host a sold out coronation themed prom, while the Ritz hotel will hold a ball where tickets will set each attendee back by £1,250 ($1,553).

As London is brought to life with novelty decorations and parties, TIME has selected the best images of the city’s transformation so far.

Members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment prepare for a night time rehearsal for the coronation of King Charles III at Hyde Park Barracks on April 17.
Dan Kitwood—Getty ImagesMembers of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment prepare for a night time rehearsal for the coronation of King Charles III at Hyde Park Barracks on April 17.
A worker sticks the paint on official chinaware at a pottery factory in Stoke-on-Trent where the official Coronation chinaware is produced on behalf of Royal Collection Trust.
PA Images/APA worker sticks the paint on official chinaware at a pottery factory in Stoke-on-Trent where the official Coronation chinaware is produced on behalf of Royal Collection Trust.
Workers install seats at Horse Guards Parade on April 17.
Vuk Valcic—SOPA Images/Shutterstock Workers install seats at Horse Guards Parade on April 17.

A crown is lifted into place atop a flag pole on The Mall on April 17.
Carl Court—Getty ImagesA crown is lifted into place atop a flag pole on The Mall on April 17.
Members of different religious communities attend a Coronation Big Lunch hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Westminster Abbey, April 18.
PA Images/APMembers of different religious communities attend a Coronation Big Lunch hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Westminster Abbey, April 18.
A night time rehearsal for the coronation of King Charles III passes the Houses of Parliament on April 18.
Dan Kitwood—Getty ImagesA night time rehearsal for the coronation of King Charles III passes the Houses of Parliament on April 18.


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