Despite ploughing millions of rubbles into the Sochi Olympics, Princess Anne couldn’t keep her nose out of a book during the opening ceremony, preferring to flick through her tome rather than watch the athletes’ parade.

It is not known whether Her Royal Highness was engrossed in David Starkey's A History of England through the Monarchy or perhaps E L James 50 Shades Of Grey but either way it looks like a real page-turner.

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That was an enjoyable opening ceremony bolstered by the classical music soundtrack and some wonderful choreography, despite some notable omissions from Russia's historic timeline.

Here's the Cauldron burning brightly

olympic flame

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olympic flame

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It looks pretty extraordinary even from an armchair, let alone inside the stadium. It's still ongoing and the Olympic Village for these Winter Games looks incredibly impressive at night.

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maria sharapova

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The Olympic Cauldron burns brightly in Sochi, an incredible fireworks display goes off and the crowd, I imagine, are going berserk. The Winter Olympics are well underway as Bolshoi plays.

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Yelena Isinbayeva, the pole vaulter, followed by Greco-Roman wrestling greatAleksandr Karelin, then Alina Kabayeva, gymnast, and then ice hockey master Vladislav Tretyak also carried the Flame.

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sochi opening ceremony

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The four-time Grand Slam winner and 2004 Wimbledon champion, born in Sochi, brought the flame into the stadium.

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Has belatedly arrived. No Andrei Arshavin on a speedboat, though.

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Robin Cousins, still with us, remarks. It's all gone a bit Starlight Express, which was a traumatic experience when I went to see it as a seven-year-old.

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sochi opening ceremony

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Don't let the fact Shami Chakrabarti carried it at London 2012 ruin that memory.

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Cultured stuff and very, very Russian. Sleeping Beauty may be an inappropriate score for mobile athletes but it'd go down a treat.

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sochi opening ceremony

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Swan Lake, to be precise.

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Sorry, I mean Putin speaks. He has opened the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

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"Hello. You athletes are very impressive. Russia is a nice country. The Olympics are a pretty cool thing, aren’t they? Thanks for watching. And for volunteering! That last bit was mainly aimed at the volunteers."

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He's stepped up to the podium now. No, Jacques Rogge stepped down a while ago.

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Yes, they're still jabbering on

sochi opening ceremony

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sochi opening ceremony

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It's speech time.

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It looks remarkably like 50s America. They're rock 'n' rollin', cruisin' in their cars and dressed in glorious technicolor. It's the film The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull could have been, perhaps.

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The former boxer has just appeared.

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Twenty seven million Russians died in WWII, and homage is now paid to the rebuilding process.

This has been a genuinely impressive and succinct re-telling of Russia's history, so far. The music and choreography have made for an impressive spectacle so far and we have swiftly moved onto the Soviet Union's rise post-war.

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  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Olympic mascots the Hare, the Polar Bear and the Leopard wave during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Russian President Vladimir Putin waits in the presidential lounge to be introduced at the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics as a television screen displays snowflakes transforming into four Olympic rings with one failing to form at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by David Goldman - Pool/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Cross country skier Victor Pinzaru of the Moldova Olympic team carries his country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Figure skater Alper Ucar of the Turkey Olympic team carries his country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    The international delegations sit in the stands during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics on February 7, 2014, in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY

    Russia's flag bearer, bobsledder Alexander Zubkov leads his national delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY

    Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY

    Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    The Swiss (top) and the Russian (bottom) delegations sit in the stands during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics on February 7, 2014, in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: A general view of atmosphere during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    Estonia's flag bearer, biathlete Indrek Tobreluts, leads his delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Ski jumper Simon Ammann of the Switzerland Olympic team carries his country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Ski jumper Simon Ammann of the Switzerland Olympic team carries his country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY

    Dancers performs during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Members of the Japan Olympic team enter during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Skier Sarka Strachova of the Czech Republic Olympic team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach (3rd L), Russian President Vladimir Putin (4th L) and Claudia Bach (L) attend the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY

    A picture taken with a robotic camera shows dancers performing during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ANTONIN THUILLIER (Photo credit should read ANTONIN THUILLIER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY

    Slovakia's flag bearer, ice hockey player Zdeno Chara leads his national delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Mogul skier Sho Endo of the Japan Olympic team enters the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Svetlana Zakharova (L) and Vladimir Vasiliev perform as Natasha Rostova and her father in Natasha Rostova's First Ball during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Large helium inflatables create the elements of St. Basil's Cathedral is during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY

    Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    Finland's flag bearer, snowboarder Enni Rukajarvi leads her national delegation during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics on February 7, 2014, in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers Vladimir Vasiliev (L) and Svetlana Zakharova perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Speed skater Qiuming Bai of the China Olympic team takes a photographs during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    Czech Republic's flag bearer, alpine skier Sarka Strachova leads her national delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Dancers Danila Korsuntsev and Svetlana Zakharova perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Cross country skier Saevar Birgisson of the Iceland Olympic team carries his country’s flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    Netherlands' flag bearer, speed skater Jorien ter Mors (R), leads her national delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: The Czech Republic Olympic team enjoys the atmospehre during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    Netherlands' flag bearer, speed skater Jorien ter Mors, leads her national delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Large helium inflatables create the elements of St. Basil's Cathedral is during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    Netherlands' flag bearer, speed skater Jorien ter Mors, leads her national delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Curler Ayumi Ogasawara of the Japan Olympic team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Ski jumper Simon Ammann of the Switzerland Olympic team carries his country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY

    Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    Czech Republic delegation members wave during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    Croatia's flag bearer, alpine skier Ivica Kostelic leads his national delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    Czech Republic's flag bearer, alpine skier Sarka Strachova leads her national delegation during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2014-OPENING-CEREMONY-DELEGATION

    Athletes of Switzerland's delegation wave during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics on February 7, 2014, in Sochi. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • 2014 Winter Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony

    SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Ice hockey player Zdeno Chara of the Slovakia Olympic team carries his country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on February 7, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Sochi 2014: