latest music news
Shard declared open by Duke of York
Europe's tallest building has been officially unveiled in central London.
The Shard's tapered design and glass panelling have already made the skyscraper one of the capital's most noticeable landmarks.
Just yards from the banks of the River Thames in Southwark, it seems to pierce the sky as it shoots more than 1,000ft into the air.
The tower, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, will contain offices, exclusive residences, a luxury hotel, restaurants and a viewing gallery across 72 floors which can be occupied.
There are a further 15 levels which make up the "spire" - six of which have the potential to be used, with another nine exposed to the elements.
The 1,016ft (309.6m) skyscraper was inaugurated by the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Qatar, Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, and The Duke of York.
Andrew said after pressing a black button to mark the unveiling: "I'm extremely pleased to see that this is going to give this quarter of London a huge new boost.
"And I hope that the people who will come and work here and live around here will truly appreciate not only the hard work that the entire team have put together, but also they'll recognise the relationship and investment that has been put in by both the UK and Qatar.
"And I'm sure that we would all be extremely glad if this could be repeated in a number of other areas across the UK."
The Shard is joint-owned by the state of Qatar and the Sellar Property Group, and it was funded by the Qatar National Bank. It was originally only nicknamed The Shard after Mr Piano described the building as a "shard of glass" in the planning stages, but the name stuck.
Londoners will be treated to a spectacular laser show to be projected from the skyscraper.
The event marks the completion of the exterior of the building, with work on the inside expected to continue into 2013.
Its tenure at the top of the European height chart is likely to be short-lived, as the 1,089ft (332m) Mercury City Tower in Russia is set to be completed by the end of the year.