William and Kate in final royal wedding rehearsal

Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:09pm EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - Prince William and Kate Middleton attended their final wedding rehearsal at Westminster Abbey on Wednesday as the armed forces, media organizations and spectators prepared for the couple's big day.

Roads in central London around Buckingham Palace and along the route of Friday's marriage procession from the abbey were closed from early morning as about 1,000 members of the military held a full-scale practice.

Carriages that will carry members of the wedding party also took part alongside mounted cavalry.

William and Middleton arrived in a fleet of vehicles that swept into the abbey grounds for their rehearsal on Wednesday evening.

They were accompanied at the run-through by William's brother and best man Prince Harry, the Middleton family and senior clergy, a spokesman for the couple said.

Across the capital, bunting has gone up and flags are beginning to be hoisted, with similar preparations around the country where about 5,500 street parties will be held.

A small army of media from around the world has descended on makeshift studios set up outside Buckingham Palace and along the route to cover the ceremony that one British minister predicted would attract a global TV audience of some 2 billion people.

"America and the world is really excited about a piece of great news," said Linda Bell Blue, executive producer of U.S. entertainment news programme Entertainment Tonight, who is heading up a team of 70 staff for the wedding.   Continued...

<p>An image of Prince William and his soon-to-be bride Kate Middleton is seen on a souvenir in London April 27, 2011. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo</p>