PRINCE Charles and wife Camilla made an entrance at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham arriving in an Aston Martin.
The couple entered the arena at the same time as 72 other red, white or blue cars with links to the Birmingham car industry, which formed a Union flag in the centre of Alexander Stadium.
The couple then took their seats to watch the Red Arrows air display team fly over the arena leaving a red, white and blue trail.
Before the opening ceremony, future King Charles posed for selfies and team photos with hundreds of athletes ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.
The Games open on Thursday, promising to be the biggest sporting festival in the UK since the London Olympics a decade ago.
The event will open in Birmingham later at the Alexander Stadium – where the Prince of Wales will be in attendance, representing the Queen.
Beforehand, Charles toured the main athletes’ village meeting sportsmen and sportswomen from dozens of nations, and posing for group photographs with teams including Scotland, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and – naturally – Wales.
He spent half an hour chatting with competitors, joking with members of the Australian team “all the rest are terrified of the Aussies”.
The prince also raised smiles from the Rwanda squad, asking “accommodation good… food all right?”
He quipped with a coach from Team Wales: “Do they listen to everything you say to them – I bet they don’t go to bed on time.”
He was mobbed by athletes within the village who had waited 30 minutes for his arrival, all keen to get a selfie, or livestream to family members back home.
Many of the countries pressed their team pin badges into his hand, including Pakistan, the Cayman Islands and the Isle of Man squads.
Charles also caused the site’s security team some mirth when he opted to step through the metal detector archway – setting it off, before smiling and raising both hands apologetically.
Earlier, Boris Johnson said he was “supremely confident” there would be a legacy from the £778 million of taxpayers’ money which has gone into the games – which are being held as the country faces a cost-of-living crisis.
The outgoing Prime Minister told the Commonwealth Business Forum in the West Midlands city: “You can feel the excitement here in this mighty city of Birmingham because the athletes are already here in their thousands, from 56 countries, 72 nations and territories around the world.”
He added: “Already you can hear the voices on some parts of the media of those who doubt that the whole thing will be worth it.
“And people say, can we afford it? Should we have done it with the pressure on the cost of living? Will there be a legacy from the £778 million of taxpayers’ money that has gone into these Games?
“And so right now, I want you to know I am here to tell you that I am supremely confident that the answer to that question is yes. A thousand times, yes. I say so because I remember, almost exactly 10 years ago, an identical moment of nerves just before the beginning of the London 2012 Games.”
Mr Johnson, who was London mayor at the time of the 2012 Summer Olympics, insisted they “continue even to this day to deliver thousands of jobs, growth, regeneration” in the capital.