Final rehearsal for Britain's second royal wedding

29th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Queen Elizabeth II's eldest granddaughter Zara Phillips and her fiancee Mike Tindall, the England rugby star, went for a final wedding rehearsal Friday on the eve of their big day.

The former eventing world champion and the rugby World Cup winner arrived at Edinburgh's Canongate Kirk in a chauffeur-driven Jaguar for one last run-through of Saturday's service.

The couple, both dressed in jeans, were cheered on by a large group of well-wishers who had gathered outside the 17th-century Church of Scotland kirk.

They were joined by her parents, Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, and her brother Peter Phillips.

The couple spent about 50 minutes inside, along with the Reverend Neil Gardner, who will conduct the ceremony, and Tindall's best man Iain Balshaw, his former Bath and England colleague.

The wedding comes almost exactly three months after Phillips's cousin Prince William, second in line to the throne, tied the knot with Kate Middleton on April 29.

More than million people lined the streets of London for that wedding and an estimated two billion more watched on television.

Phillips's wedding, a much more intimate affair, is not being televised but filming equipment was seen being moved into the church.

Canongate Kirk holds up to 400 people and is about 400 metres (yards) away from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the monarch's official residence in Scotland, where the reception will be held.

The festivities were to begin later Friday on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, with around 200 family and friends expected to join the couple for a pre-wedding drinks party.

The yacht, permanently moored in Edinburgh's port of Leith, served the royal family for 44 years, carrying them on 968 official voyages all around the world before it was decommissioned in 1997.

Anne and Mark Phillips honeymooned on the ship, cruising the Caribbean in 1973.

Queen Elizabeth adored the yacht and wept in public for the first time when it was retired.

The last royal wedding in Scotland was that of Anne and her second husband Timothy Laurence.

They tied the knot in 1992 at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral, the queen's private estate in Scotland.

© 2011 AFP

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