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As crowds began to gather at Olympic Stadium, scores of presidents, prime ministers and princes from around the world attended a reception at Buckingham Palace.
All eyes will soon be on London as more than a billion people worldwide watch the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
Created by Danny Boyle, best known for the Oscar-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire," the ceremony is titled "Isles of Wonder" and features 10,000 volunteer performers, Associated Press reported.
Billed as a panorama of Britain's past, present and future, it will be watched by 60,000 spectators inside the stadium, and a global television audience estimated at 1 billion.
Earlier in the day, the Olympic torch, which has traveled around the United Kingdom over the past 70 days, set off on the final leg of its journey toward Olympic Stadium, aboard the royal barge Gloriana, reported CNN.
The identity of the cauldron-lighter, and the way it will be done, is the ceremony's most closely guarded secret.
Associated Press reported that Queen Elizabeth II and her family were welcoming scores of presidents, prime ministers and princes from around the world, including U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama.
At an official breakfast this morning, Michelle Obama met with members of Team USA at their training base in east London, and soccer star David Beckham.
The Daily Mail said she gave Team USA a rousing pep talk, urging them to "have fun - but also win".
The First Lady, who will be leading the U.S. presidential delegation at tonight's extravaganza, thanked the athletes for their inspiring determination.