The opening of Europe’s tallest building was marked with a laser show projected across London.
The Shard, which stands at 1,016ft, opened after more than three years of construction and 12 years of planning. The “vertical city” was first conceived by entrepreneur Irvine Sellar and Italian architect Renzo Piano, with funding for the project coming from the Qatari royal family.
The Shard is the tallest building in Europe, for now - it will be superseded by the Mercury City Tower in Moscow by the end of the year. On completion the Russian skyscraper will stand at 1,089ft – 73ft higher than the Shard.
Inaugurating London’s newest tower was the Duke of York and the Qatari prime minister, Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani.
Speaking at the opening, Prince Andrew said: "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.”
Earlier the governor of Qatar Central Bank, Abdullah Saoud Al-Thani, said the Shard marked the Arab state’s “belief and commitment to London both today and in the future”.
“It is a symbol of Qatar's belief and commitment to London both today and in the future,” he said. “We have a long heritage and continued commitment to invest and build in the UK for the long term and The Shard highlights this close relationship.”
Visitors wishing to sample views from the Shard will be set back £24.95 for an adult ticket, with children’s tickets costing £18.95. A viewing platform for the skyscraper will open next year.