Flanked — literally and figuratively — by British royalty, the Olympic torch was flown from Greece to England, where it will begin a final 70-day journey before the 2012 London Olympics.
The Telegraph reports that after a rainy ceremony in Greece, the torch was taken aboard British Airways Flight 2012. The paper adds:
"The flame, lit by the sun's rays in Greece a week ago, was transported home in four lanterns that occupied the best seats in business class, seats 1A and 1B. The Princess Royal was relegated to 1F, across the aisle from the unique hand-luggage she collected in Athens on Thursday.
"David Beckham, was three rows back, one behind Sebastian Coe and London mayor Boris Johnson, but took a leading role in the ceremonies that, after 10 years of planning seven years of hype, started the final 70-day countdown to the Games."
The Guardian reports that about 7:25 p.m. local time, the torch was on British soil for the first time since 1948, when it arrived via Rolls-Royce and ship.
Here are a few images from the ceremonies:
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
David Beckham holds the Olympic Flame as it arrives at RNAS Culdrose near Helston in Cornwall, England.
David Beckham holds the Olympic Flame as it arrives at RNAS Culdrose near Helston in Cornwall, England. Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Actress Ino Menegaki, dressed as a high priestess, lights the torch at a ceremony in Panathinean stadium in Athens.
President of the Greek Olympic Committee Spyros Kapralos passes the torch to Britain's Princess Anne, right.