Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall attend church for rehearsal ahead of tomorrow's royal wedding

By Deborah Arthurs

Moment of reflection: Zara and Mike showed no hint of nerves as they chatted in the July sunshine

Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall arrived at Edinburgh's Canonbury Kirk this afternoon for a formal rehearsal ahead of tomorrow's ceremony.

Accompanied by Princess Anne, the two looked happy and relaxed as they arrived at the kirk in a chauffeur-driven Jaguar and stepped out into the summer sunshine to be greeted by a crowd of well wishers who cheered as the bride and groom-to-be headed through the gates.

The couple turned to smile at the crowds before walking inside the church to begin the rehearsal.

They were joined by Zara's father, Captain Mark Phillips, and his second wife, Sandy Pflueger, and Zara's brother Peter Phillips.

To have and to hold: Zara grips Mike's arm as they gather with friends outside Canonbury Kirk where the wedding rehearsal took place

Final preparations had been underway at Edinburgh's Canongate Kirk throughout the afternoon, with the church a flurry of activity.

Meanwhile, the bride had spent the day putting her own final touches in place.

Zara spent the afternoon with sister-in-law Autumn Phillips at The Balmoral hotel where she is staying in Edinburgh's city centre ahead of the tomorrow's ceremony.

Stepping out with Autumn earlier in the day, Zara looked the picture of health, her glossy blonde hair, glowing skin and freshly painted purple toenails indicators of the beauty treatments she is likely to have planned ahead of her big day.

Dressed casually in jeans and a jumper, Zara took a walk with Autumn Phillips, who is tipped for a part in the royal wedding tomorrow as Zara's bridesmaid or maid of honour.

All smiles: Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall arrive at Canongate Kirk for their wedding rehearsal ahead of tomorrow's ceremony

Support: Mike and Zara were met by a crowd of well wishers keen to help them celebrate their big day

When Autumn married Zara's brother Peter in a lavish ceremony three years ago, Zara played the role of bridesmaid, wearing a strapless, green Vera Wang gown for the occasion.

While little is known as yet of the details of tomorrow's nuptials, it is likely that Zara will have asked Autumn to return the favour.

The couple will exchange their vows in Edinburgh's Canongate Kirk tomorrow in front of their families and friends in a private ceremony, but festivities begin tonight as the two host a cocktail party for family and friends on board the Royal Yacht Britannia.

The yacht, permanently moored in the historic port of Leith, served the Queen for 44 years. During that time Britannia carried the monarch and the Royal Family on 968 official voyages, from the remotest of the South Seas to the deepest divides of Antarctica.

Family affair: Princess Anne attends the kirk for this afternoon's run through

Excited: Zara Phillips leaves The Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh on the eve of her wedding to rugby star Mike Tindall, pictured right with Zara. The two will host a reception this evening for family and friends

Zara's parents honeymooned on the ship, cruising the West Indies in 1973.

It is not thought the Queen will join the revellers on board the boat for this evening's event, although she is expected to attend the ceremony tomorrow.

The reception will be held a stone's throw from the church, in the palace of Holyroodhouse, the official Scottish home of the Queen, who has offered the use of Holyrood house to her granddaughter as a wedding gift.

Lothian and Borders Police have been working with the palace and the city council to ensure the smooth running of the wedding.

Superintendent Ivor Marshall, the commander responsible for security arrangements, said the event is expected to attract significant public interest, despite being a private affair.

Historic: Zara's parents honeymooned on the Britannia, and tonight the bride and groom-to-be host a cocktail reception on board the yacht

He said the church's location, near the Scottish Parliament on the busy tourist hub of the Royal Mile presented unique challenges. While some roads will be closed, businesses will remain open.

He added: 'The police planning unit is well versed in assisting in the organisation of high-profile and large-scale events in Edinburgh, including the recent Royal Week, the Papal visit last year and the festival.

Therefore we will be drawing on that experience to keep policing costs to a minimum and ensure it's an enjoyable day for the couple, their guests and the public.'

Officers have surrounded the kirk since yesterday and barriers line the Royal Mile in anticipation of the crowds.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will join Zara's parents, the Princess Royal and Captain Mark Phillips, at the wedding.

Standing on ceremony: Police guard the gates of Canongate Kirk as preparations are made for Mike and Zara's wedding. The Queen's granddaughter will marry the England rugby star tomorrow

Lots to do: A police officer stands outside Canongate Kirk, while a workman carries in the base for a floral feature. Zara has chosen a white and cream colour scheme for the wedding

Hard work: Workers bring more plants and display bases into the chapel. The 17th century church will be transformed into a woodland fairytale setting fit for a Royal Wedding

Anne's second marriage to Timothy Laurence was the last Scottish royal wedding, taking place in 1992 at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral.

Also believed to be attending tomorrow are the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, or the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay as they are known in Scotland; the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Harry; and the Duke of York and his daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Tindall is likely to have invited some of England's best-known rugby players who are colleagues and friends.

The event, in contrast to the recent wedding of William and Kate, will be private, and the doors will be closed to the media and public.

Tomorrow's wedding may be small in comparison to the scale of the last royal wedding, which was watched by an audience of 2bn internationally, but it has nonetheless been welcomed by Scotland's tourism bosses.

Mike Cantlay, who chairs tourism agency VisitScotland, said: 'Tomorrow's wedding represents an absolutely wonderful showcase, not only for Edinburgh but for the whole of Scotland.

'The Royal Family and Scotland have enjoyed a relationship for hundreds of years, and tourism has become a natural partner.

Latest visitor figures from VisitScotland for the Holyrood House, Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Yacht Britannia, Glamis Castle and Balmoral Castle suggest a surge of interest in the Royal Family.

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