A REPLICA of Westminster Abbey is being built inside Buckingham Palace to stage rehearsals for the Coronation this week.
Workmen began erecting a scale version on Friday inside the palace ballroom — meaning that the real church can stay open.
The King and Queen Consort will start practising parts of the ceremony from Thursday ahead of the real thing on May 6.
A source said: “It is a big undertaking. There are a lot of steps and a lot of people taking part. They need to rehearse and this seemed the perfect way.”
Senior royals such as William, Kate, Anne and Edward are also expected to go through gruelling practice sessions, joined by bishops and choirboys.
Wills and Kate have yet to decide how Prince George, nine, will feature.
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Sources say early sessions will be held to make sure everyone knows where to stand and walk.
The setting is the largest room in the palace at 36.6metres long, 18metres wide and 13.5metres high – enough room to put 63 London buses.
A source told the Mail on Sunday: “It’s a big undertaking. Builders are working on it at the moment. It’s going to be an exact replica of the raised stage or “theatre” which will be built in the Abbey when the King and Queen Consort are crowned.
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“There are lots of steps and lots of people taking part. The Queen has chosen her grandchildren to be pages and the King will choose four young people from his side to act as his pages.
“These youngsters, along with all the bishops, the Archbishop and everybody involved, will need to rehearse away from the public eye and this seemed like the perfect way to go about it.
“It also means that the Abbey won’t have to shut to the public for the rehearsals so they can continue to earn the revenue from visitors and not disrupt everyone else’s plans.’“
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