Dressed in a white suit, Princess Anne, the daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, received the torch from the Greek Olympic Committee President, Spyros Capralos, at the Panathenaic Stadium -same stadium that hosted the first modern Games in 1896.
Besides Princess Anne, the event gathered dozens celebrities such as the President of the Organising Committee, Sebastian Coe, London mayor, Boris Johnson, and David Beckham.
The Princess and Beckham were cheered by the public as they made their appearance on the arena, in the rain. At the beginning of the ceremony the rain stopped and a rainbow appeared.
Lit on 10 May at Olympia, according to a tradition dating since the 1936 edition of the Olympics, the flame was carried on its last meters by the Greek weightlifting Olympic champion, Pyrros Dimas, and the gold medalist in gymnastics, Li Ning (China).
The flame was delivered to the British organizers after a short choreography featuring the ancient style of the Greek “priestesses” covered in cream-colored tunics.
The Olympic flame will leave Athens on Friday with a plane heading to the military base Culdrose, in Cornwall.
As of Saturday, 8,000 runners, most of them younger than 25, will carry the torch over a distance of 12,875 kilometers throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, a journey to take 70 days.
The trip is due to end at the Olympic Stadium in London on July 27, 2012 when the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games will take place.