The Queen officially opened the 20th Commonwealth Games at Glasgow’s Celtic Park last night (23 July) in front of a 40,000 crowd with up to a billion viewers expected to have tuned in.
A ceremony, held in 26C-degree heat, included heather, whisky, Tunnock’s tea cakes, Irn Bru and a giant kilt as well as a live cast of 2,000 local people offering a synchronized and heartfelt welcome to athletes from 71 nations and Commonwealth territories.
The Queen declared the Games open by reading her own message from inside the Commonwealth baton.
Sir Chris Hoy carried the baton on its final stage to Commonwealth Games Federation President Prince Imran of Malaysia.
Her Majesty spoke of the “shared ideals and ambitions” of the Commonwealth.
She added that Glasgow was a city “renowned for its dynamic cultural and sporting achievements and for the warmth of its people, for this opening ceremony of the Friendly Games.”
Events inside the stadium were projected on Europe’s largest LED screen, almost 100m in length and weighing 38 tonnes.
The venue had a specially-created stage floor covering the entire pitch and a multi-coloured walkway specifically designed for the athlete’s parade.
Rod Stewart and Amy Macdonald were among the performing artistes, which also included The Scottish Regiment Pipe Band and Susan Boyle.
The Red Arrows performed a flypast as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived.
An appeal for donations to Unicef’s Children of the Commonwealth Fund prompted 500,000 people in the UK to donate by text within an hour of seeing the appeal.
The Games will feature 17 sports across 11 days of competition, with the closing ceremony taking place at Hampden Park on 3 August.
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