Glasgow 2014: Commonwealth Games kicks off at Celtic Park (Photos)


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The 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony has taken place at Celtic Park in Glasgow.

Thousands of athletes from 71 nations and territories took part before a 40,000-strong crowd and a global TV audience up to one billion people.

Their traditional parade around the stadium followed a live show featuring about 2,000 cast members.

The Queen declared the Games open by reading her own message from inside the Commonwealth baton.

Adventurer Mark Beaumont landed on the city's river Clyde in a seaplane carrying the baton to Celtic Park, having tracked its progress across the Commonwealth on a 288-day journey spanning almost 120,000 miles.

Inside the stadium, the baton was transferred between a group of volunteers who have helped children around Scotland find their potential through sport.

Sir Chris Hoy carried it on its final stage to Prince Imran of Malaysia, who struggled briefly to open the container and remove the message to hand to the Queen.


A smiling Queen Elizabeth is presented with a posy during the 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, as the Duke of Edinburgh looks on






Australia competitors put on an acrobatic show for fans watching at home


Brightly-dressed athletes from Fiji smile and dance as they arrive


Host nation: Scotland's Euan Burton carries the flag as they arrive


Lions: England's Nick Matthew carries the English flag and leads his team in


Display: The Queen's Baton is shown to the crowd as it arrives in the stadium


Chris Hoy receives the baton from Andy Coogan, the Scottish author, Second World War veteran and former champion runner. He is also the Olympian's great uncle


Cheese: John Barrowman takes a selfie with Nessie, comic characters Desperate Dan and Oor Wullie, and other performers


Sea of colour: Dancers in perform in brightly-hued clothing


Rod Stewart (left) and John Barrowman were just two of many Scottish singers who lent their talents to proceedings


Majestic: The RAF Red Arrows fly over Glasgow during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park




Samantha Cameron (third from left) Prime Minster David Cameron, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (second from right) watch proceedings in Glasgow





'THE BONDS THAT UNITE:' THE QUEEN'S MESSAGE TO THE COMMONWEALTH

The Queen spoke of the 'shared ideals and ambitions' of the Commonwealth when she delivered the message which has travelled the world in the Games' baton relay.

She highlighted the 'bonds that unite' the 71 nations and territories when she formally declared the 20th Commonwealth Games open.

In an address directed at all the athletes competing in the Games, she made special reference to the young people of the Commonwealth, saying they are entrusted with its values and future.

The message, which was kept secret until tonight, has circled the globed over the last nine months, since the Queen placed the paper inside the baton which then visited all 71 locations.

Reading the message, the Queen said: 'At Buckingham Palace last October I placed this message into the specially-crafted baton and passed it to the first of many thousands of baton-bearers. Over the past 288 days the baton has visited all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth, crossing every continent in a journey of more than 100,000 miles.

'The baton relay represents a calling together of people from every part of the Commonwealth and serves as a reminder of our shared ideals and ambitions as a diverse, resourceful and cohesive family.

'And now, that baton has arrived here in Glasgow, 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.'

The Queen, in her role as head of the Commonwealth, sent her best wishes to the competing athletes when she addressed the opening ceremony at Glasgow's Celtic Park.

She said: 'To you, the Commonwealth athletes, I send my good wishes for success in your endeavours. Your accomplishments over the coming days will encourage us all to strengthen the bonds that unite us.

'You remind us that young people, those under 25 years of age, make up half of our Commonwealth citizens; and it is to you that we entrust our values and our future.

'I offer my sincere thanks to the many organisations and volunteers who have worked diligently to bring these Games to fruition, and indeed to the spectators here in the stadium and to the millions watching on television. Together, you all play a part in strengthening our friendships in this modern and vibrant association of nations.

'It now gives me the greatest pleasure to declare the 20th Commonwealth Games open.'












Flag bearer and Cyclist Fatehah Mustapa of Malaysia flies the flag at half mast during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. The athletes also wore black armbands in mourning over the flight MH17 crash



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