Her Majesty the Queen has opened the Olympic Games at the end of a breathtaking £27 million ceremony directed by Danny Boyle.
Speaking following the event, in which she performed alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond and appeared to parachute into the stadium, she said: "I declare open the Games of London, celebrating the 30th Olympiad of the modern era."
A party of flagbearers brought the Olympic flag into the stadium moments later.
Muhammad Ali and Doreen Lawrence, mother of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence, were among the nine who took part in the ceremony, alongside UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Ethiopian athletics veteran Haile Gebrselassie and Shami Chakrabati, director of Liberty.
Sally Becker, also known as the Angel of Mostar, who risked her life to deliver aid and evacuate children in the Balkan War, Marina Silva, who has fought against the destruction of the rainforest, Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, who has worked to try and end the civil war in Liberia, and musician Daniel Barenboim also took part.
Finally, David Beckham, who had carried the torch up the Thames on a glowing speedboat, handed it to former Olympic rower Sir Steve Redgrave, who carried it into the stadium and passed it on to a team of seven teenagers.
They in turn lit a cauldron made up of over 200 copper vials - a final grand formality to end the proceedings.