27 July 2012 12:59 ET
Thousands of people are arriving at the Olympic Park ahead of the £27m opening ceremony of the London Games.
The three-hour spectacle in the Olympic Stadium will be viewed by a global TV audience of around one billion people.
The Olympic flame is at City Hall ahead of its ceremony appearance, on the last leg of its 70-day nationwide journey.
Details of the ceremony remain a closely-guarded secret. Its artistic director, Danny Boyle, has dedicated it to the 15,000 volunteers taking part.
Mr Boyle has spoken of his “excitement” for the ceremony, as well as feeling “nervousness” for all the volunteers participating in it.
The chairman of London 2012, Lord Coe, told the BBC he was “as excited as hell”.
Crowds of people, many of them dressed up in their nation’s colours, are gathering in large numbers at the Olympic Park. There have been no reports of any major transport problems.
The day of celebration began at 08:12 BST (07:12 GMT) with a mass bell ringing. Big Ben rang for three minutes for the first time since King George VI’s funeral.
When Queen Elizabeth officially opens the London Olympics she will become the only head of state in the world to have opened a summer Olympiad on two occasions.
As Queen of Canada, she declared the Montreal summer games open in 1976.
The Windsors have had a long association with the Olympics. The Queen’s father, King George VI, opened the last London games, in 1948 – and the Queen’s daughter, the Princess Royal, was a member of the British equestrian team at the 1976 games in Montreal.
From Queen Elizabeth’s position as a head of state, to the glamour which attaches to the younger members of the Windsor family, the British royals have been an integral element of the British proposition which secured the 2012 Games for London.
The weather for the ceremony is expected to remain dry, but BBC forecasters say the jet stream is moving southwards and there will be a return to more unsettled and chillier conditions over the next few days.
BBC forecaster Krista Mitchell said Saturday would remain mainly dry in the south, but showers were likely to affect the Games on Sunday.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It’s a great opportunity to show the world the best of Britain, a country that’s got an incredibly rich past but also a very exciting future.
“Someone asked me yesterday what face of Britain do we want to put forward – is it Blur or the Beefeaters? – and frankly it’s both.”
‘Wave of excitement’
Mayor of London Boris Johnson told BBC Radio 5 live: “What’s so amazing is just the wave of excitement seems to pass from person to person like some benign form of contagion. Everybody is getting it.”
The Olympic flame arrived at City Hall on the Queen’s rowbarge Gloriana after first weaving through the maze at Hampton Court Palace then being transported down the Thames.
The flame’s trip around the UK ends with the lighting of the cauldron during this evening’s opening ceremony, but the identity of the person who will take on the honour remains a mystery.
Europe’s largest bell will ring inside the Olympic Stadium at 21:00 at the start of the opening ceremony, said to be a quirky take on British life.
Some 15,000 sq m of staging and 12,956 props will be used, and the event will boast a million-watt PA system using more than 500 speakers.
The crowd of about 80,000 will include the Queen and a host of dignitaries and celebrities.
The Queen and Prince Philip are hosting a Buckingham Palace reception for foreign dignitaries and an opening ceremony celebration concert featuring Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, Duran Duran and Paolo Nutini will be held in Hyde Park.
More than 10,000 athletes from 204 nations will take part in the London Olympics, which has taken £9bn of public money to stage.
Danny Boyle was born on October 20th, 1956 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danny_Boyle
October 20th, 1956
10 + 20 +2+0+1+1 = 34 = his personal year (from October 20th, 2011 to October 19th, 2012) = Fireworks. Explosives. Red. Generating a buzz. Getting people all fired up.
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