The 2018 Commonwealth Games has kicked off in spectacular style, introducing more than 4000 athletes from 71 countries to an audience of 1.5 billion.
A blast from a didgeridoo, a sprinkling of royal stardust and a strong message of unity lit up the opening ceremony on Australia's Gold Coast on Wednesday.
The three-hour showcase, with the motto 'Share the Dream', celebrated Gold Coast beach life and indigenous culture - with performances from Aussie sensations Delta Goodrem and Ricki-Lee Coulter.
A heavy downpour lashed the 35,000 crowd at Carrara Stadium as the ceremony began, ensuring a wet start to the proceedings for many in the half-covered arena.
Britain's Prince Charles and wife Camilla were among the guests and the heir to the throne officially opened the Games at the end of the gala.
As the ceremony sprang to life in the rain, the camera panned in on an Aboriginal family planted in the crowd and a girl with a smartphone. The message on the screen read: "Welcome to the oldest living culture on Earth."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and the mayor of the city of Gold Coast, Tom Tate, were joined on stage by Prince Charles and Camilla as the national anthem was played.
The Australian flag, flanked by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags, was raised before Ricki-Lee Coulter took to the stage with a dazzling performance featuring dozens of beach-going backup dancers.
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Youth Orchestra played Australian classics as the nations began to file into the stadium.
Kids wearing surf lifesaving gear and carrying matching pink rescue boards led the athletes from the 71 Commonwealth nations and territories into the stadium.
Hockey player Mark Knowles was handed the honour of being Australia's flagbearer in the Parade of Nations, while hurdling superstar Sally Pearson also played a key role in the ceremony.
After the parade, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games chairman Peter Beattie welcomed athletes, viewers and dignitaries to the country "with the friendliest people on Earth."
The Queen's Baton arrived into Carrara Stadium via an iconically Aussie vehicle - a Kombi van - its bearer legendary Australian swimmer Susie O'Neill.
It was then passed on to medal-winning cyclist Brad McGee and a host of other elite Australian athletes, finishing with Olympic and Commonwealth gold medallist hurdler Sally Pearson.
The Prince of Wales read a message to the crowd written by his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, which has been furled inside a baton for its 388-day journey to the Gold Coast.
“I have been asked by the Queen to represent Her Majesty and to convey the following message to you all," he began.
"On Commonwealth Day last year I placed this message into the impressive Baton. Over the past 388 days, on its journey from Buckingham Palace to the Gold Coast, the Baton Relay has passed through every nation and territory of the Commonwealth.
“I send my warm wishes to every competing individual and team and to all those who have helped to bring about the first Commonwealth Games in this very special part of Australia, The Gold Coast.
"Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it now gives me the greatest pleasure to declare the XXI Commonwealth Games open.”
Prince Charles added his own personal message, saying: "The ancient stories told by the Indigenous people of Australia remind us that even though we may be half a world away, we are all connected.
"Over the years these friendly Games have shown the potential of the Commonwealth to connect people of different backgrounds and nationalities.
"In this spirit of cooperation and togetherness, common ground has been established and enduring friendships forged."
The ceremony came to a rousing close with Delta Goodrem, wearing a sparkling blue caped jumpsuit, singing 'Welcome to Earth.'
The first of the 275 events begin on Thursday as athletes go head-to-head to compete for 50 gold medals.
The Games wrap up on April 15.
For a schedule of Thursday's events, click here.