Today the Olympic Flame will be handed to London for the third time since the birth of the Olympic Games. Its journey to the UK and the Opening Ceremony of London 2012 will begin.

During an hour-long ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, the Olympic Flame will be handed to HRH The Princess Royal, who is leading the UK Delegation, which includes Lord Coe, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Sport and Olympics Minister, Hugh Robertson.

Following the ceremony, the Olympic Flame will be centre stage at the Handover reception at the British Embassy. The torch will remain overnight at the British Ambassador’s Residence, along with the VIP delegation.

On Friday, it will then arrive into Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose in Cornwall. From there, it will set off on its 70 day relay around the UK, visiting 1021 villages, towns and cities - carried by 8000 Torchbearers.

Foreign Office Minister for the Olympics and Paralympics, Jeremy Browne, said: “This is a historic Handover ceremony – for the third time the Olympic Flame, the symbol of the Games, is coming to London. The start of the Games is now very close and we are ready to welcome the world to join us for London 2012. One of the joys of the Torch relay is that hundreds of thousands of people will get to see it as it travels across the UK.”

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