News In Depth
Shard proposal 'planned for months'
A man who proposed to his girlfriend at the Shard has said he had no idea that Boris Johnson and a media pack would be on the observation deck at the same time.
When James Episcopou, 22, got down on one knee the moment was captured by a host of photographers.
The couple, from Epping Forest, Essex, got engaged moments after the Mayor of London cut a ribbon at the official opening of the highest vantage point in western Europe.
Mr Episcopou, a supervisor at John Lewis, said: "I've had it planned since July last year. When tickets first came out I thought I've got to buy them, it's the perfect place to propose.
"Laura means everything to me and I wanted to make her feel on top of the world.
"We had no idea the media were going to be there, but when we arrived we saw Boris Johnson and there were cameras everywhere."
When asked if the presence of the media made him even more nervous, he replied: "There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to do it.
"For Laura it's made the day even more special. When people plan a proposal they think 'how can I make it special?'. I managed to do quite a good job."
Miss Taylor, a 22-year-old accountant, said: "I had no idea he had planned it. I thought we were going up to look at the view.
"James asked me to come over to him because some photographers would like to take our picture. The next moment he was on one knee and proposing. I was so shocked. I said 'yes, definitely', but then I was speechless."
The proposal took place on level 72 of the Shard, just over 800ft (244m) above the capital.
Mr Johnson had earlier described London's tallest building as "a most amazing place".
He said: "I don't think there's anything in London like this.
"It's the closest thing to being in an airplane and looking down on London. But you can walk around, you've got complete stability.
"You can see all the bends in the river, you can see my office, you can see Buckingham Palace, you can see the whole thing for 40 miles around."
The Shard's architect, Renzo Piano, added: "This building is magic for a number of reasons.
"First, because it's in London, second, because it's so tall, and third, because this building is a part of London. It's a sense of London.
"It's sad when London is sad, it's joyful when London is brilliant and joyful."
On a clear day visitors to the Shard, which towers over the city at a height of 1,016ft, are promised a spectacular view of the capital.
But visibility was restricted for the dignitaries, journalists and members of the public attending the launch because of wet and cloudy weather.
Some 4,800 people paid for admission today - at £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children.
Visitors to the attraction, on floors 68, 69 and 72, are whisked up in two high-speed lifts in around 60 seconds.
On a clear day they will be able to enjoy a 360-degree view of the capital's skyline, from a platform almost twice the height of any other in the city. With the help of specially designed telescopes they can pick out London's landmarks in the streets below.
what do you think?
ummmm, was it designed and built by british ppl?
If it was, how big of a bung did the planning commitee get for destroying the London landscape?
I think it has more to do with the amount of rates the council will collect each year
For a while there with the headline and picture I thought some bloke had proposed to Boris and he'd accepted.
The architect must be one of the best in his profession. (in todays world, that's like winning a best pimple competition)I bet it took him a good ten minutes to design this pointy, uninspiring ugly mass of steel and glass. If planning consent was required , i'd love to know how they got it. Then charging the public to go in it, instead of paying them to go in. Master stroke. Last but not least, they have the zenith of Tory intelligence, officially opening it, and confirming that the British empire , and all the quality buildings and achievements that came with it, is truly dead and gone.
A 'blot' on the London landscape!
£25 a pop.... Like the Dartford tunnel this will be paid for in a few years.. Quite a savy way of building this really. The lobby will be filled with office workers and tourists alike. Off to work? No I am on a Jolly.
We have really talented people in this country, sham about the dross at the top holding us all back from our full potential. Victorian Britain was good in its day, but it is now our past.
But victorian buildings are still good over a hundred years on, this is bad , already.