Royalty and statesmen

History was made as Barack Obama took the oath of office shortly after 5pm UK time, becoming America's first African American president
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Hollywood stars at the ceremony included Denzel Washington, who arrived early to ensure his front row seat
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An estimated three million people had packed into the centre of Washington to witness the changing of the guard
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Dawning of a new era as Mr Obama is sworn in as US president

20 JANUARY 2009
Click here to see the memorable moments from the inauguration of America's 44th president

It was the moment millions around the globe had been waiting to see. Standing on the steps of the US Capitol building with one hand placed over Abraham Lincoln's 1861 inauguration bible, Barack Obama took the oath of office, and in doing so became America's first African-American president.

Looking on proudly as the 47-year-old statesman pledged himself to the country were his wife Michelle Obama and daughters Malia, ten, and seven-year-old Sasha. Already becoming a fashion icon in her own right, the new First Lady chose a mustard yellow gold-embossed coat and matching shift-dress by Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo for the occasion.

In time-honoured tradition, departing president George Bush and his wife Laura were on hand at the ceremony. There were also a handful of famous guests, including chat show queen Oprah Winfrey, environmental activist Al Gore, actors Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L Jackson and Denzel Washington.

An estimated three million people had crowded into the US capital to see the historic moment, many arriving just before dawn in standing-room-only trains. Before Mr Obama and new Vice President Joe Biden were sworn in there was a performance by soul legend Aretha Franklin, who sang My Country 'Tis Of Thee.

After the main event, which took place shortly after 5pm UK time, Mr Obama made his first address as President focusing on the themes of responsibility and accountability.


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