Welcoming Presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens to London, Elizabeth II told her illustrious audience that like her great-grandfather and father before her she would “take pleasure in opening” the Olympic Games in Britain.
Guests including Michelle Obama, Queen Sofia of Spain and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, whose country will host the 2016 Games, had been invited to mingle over over canapes before making their way in convoy to the Olympic stadium in Stratford, East London.
The Queen told them: “Over recent months, many in these islands have watched with growing excitement the journey of the Olympic Torch around the United Kingdom.
“As the Torch has passed through villages and towns it has drawn people together as families and communities.
“To me, this spirit of togetherness is a most important part of the Olympic ideal; and the British people can be proud of the part they have played in keeping the spirit alive.
“Many sports played in these Games have their historic roots in this country; and as a nation we have an abiding passion for sport, as well as a tradition of fair play and a good-natured sense of fun.”
Senior royals including Prince Philip, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge helped the Queen host the Buckingham Palace reception.
After a day spent jumping around with school children, as part of her Let”s Move campaign, the US first lady was the picture of elegance into a white ensemble, embroidered with silver thread.
Meanwhile, Kate was chic in a mint green dress coat by cutting edge British designer Christopher Kane.