With excitement levels reaching maximum in Beijing ahead of the start of this year's Olympics, royalty and statesman have been arriving in the Chinese capital for Friday's spectacular opening ceremony.
As the final preparations for the three-and-a-half hour show were being made, Britain's Princess Anne joined other European dignitaries at a banquet hosted by Chinese President Hu Jintao in the city's Great Hall. Fellow guests included Spain's Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia, and Danish royals Prince Frederik and his Tasmanian-born wife Princess Mary.
Earlier in the day French President Nicolas Sarkozy took his son Louis to meet athletes who will be representing his country at this year's Games. Other statesmen who've recently arrived in Beijing include American President George Bush.
In total 15,000 performers are taking part in Friday's opening ceremony, with 29,000 fireworks due to be released into the night sky. Closing the spectacular event is British soprano Sarah Brightman, singing a duet of the Games' official title song with Chinese pop star Liu Huan.