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Queen Welcomes Athletes To Paralympic Games

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The Paralympic Games began in style on Wednesday when the Queen arrived for the global event's opening ceremony and received an ecstatic welcome.

Her appearance in the Olympic Stadium generated huge cheers and applause from the sell-out audience of more than 60,000 people.

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The Queen was joined by the Earl Of Wessex at the opening ceremony

Dressed in a pale blue and champagne dress and coat by Angela Kelly, she smiled at the warm greeting.

The arrival was more conventional than her dramatic entrance at the Olympic Games' opening ceremony, when she appeared to parachute into the arena with James Bond, the Press Association reported.

The Queen travelled to the stadium ahead of the start of the spectacular ceremony for a reception with senior figures from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

And she was escorted into the arena by the IPC's president, Sir Philip Craven, who competed in five Paralympic Games from 1972 to 1988.

Missing from the Queen's side was the Duke of Edinburgh, who is convalescing after a recurrence of a bladder infection.

But standing nearby were the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both ambassadors for ParalympicsGB, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Kate looked stylish in a cream dress coat by Scandinavian fashion brand DAY Birger et Mikkelsen - an outfit she has worn on previous occasions.

Earlier, the Queen said that the Paralympic athletes "will excite and inspire people wherever they live".

In a statement released ahead of the event, the monarch said: "It is with tremendous pride that the people of London and the United Kingdom welcome the world to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

"The Games are returning to the country where they first began, more than 60 years ago.

"We look forward to celebrating the uplifting spirit which distinguishes the Paralympic Games from other events, drawing on Britain's unique sporting heritage.

"The athletes' endeavours and triumphs will excite and inspire people wherever they live. I look forward to memorable Games that leave a lasting legacy for London, the UK and the worldwide Paralympic movement."

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Opening Ceremony - London Paralympic Games 2012
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