And They’re Off! London 2012 Begins
The London 2012 Olympic Games began last night, with the opening ceremony taking place at the Olympic Stadium. Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Games at the end of the ceremony, which featured Sir Kenneth Branagh, David Beckham and Sir Steve Redgrave.
Queen Elizabeth had previously hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace for the heads of state and government in London for the Games, attended by a large number of dignitaries including the Queen of Denmark, the Prince of Monaco, the heirs of Belgium and Norway, and a plethora of presidents and prime ministers.
The guests were then transported to the stadium for the opening ceremony, which lasted over three and a half hours. After watching performances showing the history of Britain with the Industrial Revolution creating five iron Olympic Rings, dancing nurses and patients, an inflatable Voldemort being vanquished by multiple Mary Poppinses, Mr Bean winning the iconic Chariots of Fire beach scene, and a tribute to British music culture, it was time for the parade of nations.
As the 204 competing nations entered the stadium in alphabetical order, each of the royals present were shown cheering enthusiastically when their athletes marched past. Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik were joined by Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to welcome the Danes, while Princess Máxima waved a bright orange scarf to attract the attention of the Dutch athletes. Norway’s Crown Prince and Princess, Haakon and Mette-Marit, were dubbed the ‘Scandinavian Airline Hosts’ due to their official Norwegian team attire. That didn’t stop them from cheering on their athletes though.
Following the parade, it was time for the official speeches and opening by Queen Elizabeth, and the lighting of the Olympic Flame. David Beckham brought the flame to the stadium on a speedboat up the Thames, handing it over to Sir Steve Redgrave who ran it into the arena. Seven of Britain’s young athletes jointly lit the final flame, before Sir Paul McCartney closed the ceremony with a rendition of Hey Jude.
The Queen also played a special role in the ceremony – apart from opening the Games, of course – when she featured in a segment with Daniel Craig as James Bond. The duo left Buckingham Palace aboard a helicopter headed for the stadium. Upon arrival, they ‘parachuted’ into the arena before the British national anthem, God Save The Queen, was played.
Over the next two weeks expect to see many royals out and about around the Olympic venues cheering on their respective nations. Visit the London 2012 Olympics Forum for all the latest news.Filed under The United Kingdom
Tagged Celebrities, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, London 2012, Olympic Games, Sport.