The 2015 Rugby World Cup opening game kicked off in spectacular style and with a royal seal of approval as England sailed to victory. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry were among the guests who were treated to front row seats at the stunning opening ceremony.
The imaginative display at Twickenham stadium featured a firework displays, a giant rugby ball in the centre of the pitch, marching bands and dance sequences.
It was Kate's first night out since the birth of her baby. Wearing a blue Reiss coat, the 31-year-old looked effortlessly stylish and in high spirits as she watched the captivating display along with her husband Prince William, ahead of the opening match between England and Fiji.
Prince Harry, who is honorary president of England Rugby 2015, the organising committee staging the tournament, took to the stage to deliver a rousing speech opening the event.
The Prince said: "This evening marks the beginning of a celebration of rugby which I hope will inspire current players, those new to the game and future generations. There will be moments in this World Cup which will live with us for the rest of our lives. Who could forget 1995 and President Mandela handing The Webb Ellis Cup to Francois Pienaar, or that Drop kick in 2003.
"To all the players, we congratulate you and wish you well for the Tournament. Your individual skill is to be celebrated, but I can think of no other sport where the success of the team is shouldered so equally by everyone."
"Rugby has changed dramatically in my lifetime. But it remains a game founded on a code of values. Values which are as important today, both on and off the field of play, as they have ever been. Across the country, regardless of age, background or beliefs; this nation, which gave rugby to the world in 1823, will join together and celebrate the game like never before."
Concluding his impassioned address he added: "In six weeks' time, one team will take its place in history. It's up to every one of us, to raise the roof on each match in this unforgettable journey. The players have earned it, the Nations deserve it and the fans expect it. 'We're ready... Game on!"
Making his acting debut, Prince Harry surprised fans as he also made a cameo in a film which was screened as part of the ceremony.
The royal, 31, appeared alongside former England international Jonny Wilkinson, 36, dressed as a gardener in a re-telling of the story of how rugby was invented. The clip shows a boy pick up a football sprinting past the pair who are left standing shown leaning on their spades.
The Prime Minister David Cameron described the Rugby World Cup as a 'compelling spectacle', said it was a celebration of sport.
"The tournament promises to be the best ever and it will leave a lasting legacy for the sport in our country and around the world. The sporting drama of the coming weeks will inspire tens of thousands more people to pick up a rugby ball and play the game, and the RFU is investing millions more in clubs up and down the country, training more coaches, and reaching out to make sure rugby is played in more schools.
"The whole country will join with the cities hosting games in England and Wales to offer the warmest of welcomes to visiting teams and fans - and I wish all four Home Nations the very best of luck."
The ceremony saw 20 'giants of the game' take centre stage in a fitting homage to past players. Martin Johnson was the chosen English representative. There were musical performances from the Royal Marines and singer Laura Wright.
Earlier today, thousands of fans started to converge on London's Twickenham stadium, and entering into the spirit of the game, many arrived emblazoned in the red and white of the England team.
Supporters on both sides appeared to be in great spirits as they prepared to watch the game, which commences the six-week home World Cup. The excitement was no less on social media, with fans tweeting their support.
The game, which was watched by 82,000 spectators, saw England triumph as the host team beat Fiji 35-11. England's odds of winning the tournament are 9/2. New Zealand are the favourites to win, with much better odds of 6/5.
— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) September 18, 2015
— Rosie Nixon (@Rosie_Nixon) September 18, 2015
— Clare Balding (@clarebalding) September 18, 2015
Overall a good result for England. Not a great performance for much of the game but there's time to improve! #RWC2015
— James Pratt TV/Sport (@JamesPrattTV) September 18, 2015