London 2012: Queen hails Olympic 'dedication'
- 24 July 2012
- From the section UK
The Queen has hailed the "dedication, hard work and personal sacrifice" of athletes taking part in London 2012.
And she told International Olympic Committee members at Buckingham Palace that hosting the Games had inspired "our children and communities".
She spoke ahead of an opening ceremony rehearsal, where the crowd was urged to to keep things "under wraps".
Meanwhile, the PM's spokesman has said transport disruption during the Olympics is inevitable.
In other developments on Monday:
- It has emerged that security guards from private company G4S are to be replaced at football venue St James' Park , Newcastle, by 500 staff from local security companies
- Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy has been chosen to carry the flag for Team GB at the London 2012 opening ceremony
- Tennis star Andy Murray, at Wimbledon and the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence were among those who carried the Olympic flame as the relay travelled from Lewisham to Wandsworth
- The torch visited the fictional London borough of Walford when it appeared in a special live section of BBC soap EastEnders later
- The White House said US First Lady Michelle Obama would travel to London to attend Friday's opening ceremony
- A minute's silence was held at London's Olympic Village in memory of the 11 Israeli team members killed in the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre
- Almost two-thirds of Team GB's athletes believe facilities for Olympic sports in the UK have improved as a result of London 2012, a BBC sport website survey suggested.
Thousands of spectators at the opening ceremony rehearsal at the Olympic stadium were asked to refrain from posting pictures or videos from the event on social networks.
Artistic director Danny Boyle addressed the audience and called on them to "save the surprise".
Hundreds of people followed his advice when they later took to Twitter to rave about the event, which is expected to be watched by billions worldwide, without giving anything away.
They included former Foreign Secretary David Miliband who revealed he was among the audience in a tweet that said: "Danny Boyle is a genius with a wicked sense of humour."
Meanwhile, BBC Olympics Correspondent James Pearce tweeted: "I loved Opening Ceremony. Unlike any other Olympic ceremony and if weather's dry I think Boyle will pull it off."
The Queen, at a reception for IOC members in the palace's ballroom, said that, in the coming days, 10,000 athletes from more than 200 nations would be undertaking final preparations.
"We send our warm wishes to them all for a rewarding and enjoyable Games," she added.
She said hosting the Games had inspired Britons "whether by motivating them to take up physical activity or encouraging them to demonstrate the Olympic values of excellence, respect and friendship".
"Nowhere has this been more evident than in the warm welcome given to the Olympic torchbearers as the Olympic flame has travelled the length and breadth of the United Kingdom," she added.
The prime minister's spokesman's warning of traffic disruption came as drivers in London faced delays of up to two hours with lanes closed ahead of the introduction of new Games Lanes on Wednesday.
"The reality is that there is going to be disruption," David Cameron's spokesman said.
"We have huge numbers of people coming to London to enjoy the Olympic Games and that will put pressure on the transport system.
"We have been keen to stress that point, so that people who don't have to come into London don't come into London."
He spoke after the first of a series of daily ministerial meetings - in the Cobra briefing room - to be held throughout the Games period.
Transport, security and the threat of strikes were on the agenda for the first of the meetings, which was chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron and addressed by speakers including Transport Secretary Justine Greening.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union who work at the Home Office will strike for 24 hours over job cuts and other issues on Thursday - the day before the Olympics begins.
Home Secretary Theresa May told the government meeting about contingency plans to try to cover striking workers, who will include Border Agency staff at Heathrow, and other airports on a day when many thousands of visitors are due to arrive in the UK.
The PCS said 57.2% of those who voted had backed strike action - the turnout was 20%.
The prime minister's spokesman said it was unclear how many workers would stay away on the day but there were enough people who had done the necessary training to step in to fill gaps.
On security, he said "robust plans" were in place to try to ensure "a safe and secure Olympics".
That followed the drafting in of an extra 3,500 service personnel last week after contractor G4S admitted a shortage of staff.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge told BBC Radio 4's Today programme earlier that that deployment had been "a good strategy".
"They have found a solution, we are happy with it and we are very confident that security will be very, very good," he added.
And foreign sports fans have queued for up to six hours to pick up Olympics tickets from reseller Cosport at its base in Paddington Green in London.
The company, which sells Games tickets to people from countries including the US, Canada, Australia, Norway and Sweden, was also criticised for selling some batches of tickets to families with seats that were not together.
A London 2012 spokeswoman said there had been "issues with the distribution of tickets" and urged anyone affected to contact Cosport .
Cosport was unavailable for comment.