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Torch travels to Buckingham Palace

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

William, Kate and Harry watched as the flame was carried into the grounds of the Queen's London home.

It has travelled hundreds of miles across the UK in the run-up to the Olympics which will be officially opened by the Queen on Friday 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.

Kate's fellow Scout volunteer Jon Sayer, 33, handed over to Wai-Ming Lee, from MapAction, a humanitarian emergency response charity which has 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 William, Kate and Harry, who all wore official Team GB tops. The trio are Team GB ambassadors and Kate completed her look with blue skin-tight leggings while the brothers wore chinos.

William, Kate and Harry 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 the Mountain Rescue organisation which has William 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 Queen's 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'."

Earlier, Joanna Lumley and Absolutely Fabulous co-star Jennifer Saunders shared torch-carrying duties as it passed through Sloane Square. The pair smiled and waved to the hundreds of spectators who lined the route to cheer them on, as they completed the leg in a quick walk.

Prime Minister Cameron and wife Samantha watched a relay exchange take place on his doorstep in Downing Street as war hero Kate Nesbitt handed over the flame to pensioner Florence Rowe.

Miss Nesbitt, 24, from Plymouth, Devon, was the first woman in the Royal Navy to be awarded the Military Cross.

She was given the award in honour of her bravery in administering emergency medical treatment to injured servicemen while under enemy fire during an ambush in Afghanistan in March 2009.

Miss Nesbitt met the Camerons on the steps of Number 10 and chatted to them briefly before she handed over the flame to Ms Rowe, 81, from Prestwood in Buckinghamshire, who carried the flame out of Downing Street.

Mr Cameron hailed her "huge heroism" on the battlefield and the medic afterwards said carrying the torch had been "incredible".

"It was such a special experience," she said.

"The Olympics is a massive event, bringing everyone together, and the crowds were lovely.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt joined the Prime Minister to watch the handover in Downing Street, which was full of schoolchildren cheering on the torch.

When Ms Rowe was 18 she was part of the crowds in London who welcomed the Olympics in 1948.

She seemed perfectly at ease, waving to the crowd as she walked out of the gates at the end of Downing Street and into Whitehall.

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