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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry welcome the Olympic flame to Buckingham Palace

26th July 2012

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry welcomed the Olympic Torch to Buckingham Palace tonight as its neared the end of its journey.

Their Royal Highnesses watched as the flame was carried into the grounds of The Queen's official London residence.

It has travelled hundreds of miles across the UK in the run-up to the Olympics which will be officially opened by The Queen tomorrow during a spectacular ceremony.

A host of famous names and ordinary people have helped carry the flame through villages, towns and cities.

The royal trio each nominated one of their charities to take part in this leg of the Torch Relay.

The Duchess's fellow Scout volunteer Jon Sayer, 33, handed over to Wai-Ming Lee, from MapAction, a humanitarian emergency response charity which has Prince Harry as its Patron, close to the Palace gates.

To cheers from the crowds lining the perimeter fence, Mr Lee walked on to the Palace forecourt and towards Their Royal Highnesses, who all wore official Team GB tops to reflect their roles as Team GB ambassadors.

Their Royal Highnesses were flanked by around 40 athletes from the Team GB Ambition Programme, which aims to encourage future sports stars.

In front of his royal audience, Mr Lee exchanged the Olympic flame with John Hulse, from Mountain Rescue which has The Duke as its Patron.

The two men posed for a picture with The Duke, Duchess and Prince behind them before the flame moved on in the hands of Mr Hulse.

Members of the Royal Household had also gathered to wave the torchbearer off and, after he left the Palace's forecourt, 32 soldiers from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment escorted him up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner.

Mr Lee, 38, from Hemel Hempstead, works for a digital mapping company, but as a MapAction volunteer is sent to disaster areas around the world to map resources, plot where aid is needed and other elements vital to emergency relief.

Before joining the royals for a private reception, he said: "I'm not a medic, I'm not a fireman, when we see these things on the TV you wish you could do something and I can - I'm a computer specialist who makes maps.

"Using maps I can make a difference to the people on the ground, help them get aid to the right people, at the right time, at the right place."

Speaking about the experience of carrying the torch, he said: "It was exhilarating and over too soon, I was walking slowly to make it last.

"Prince William said to me 'Don't drop it'."