Queen Elizabeth will host a reception today (30.05.08) to mark the centenary of the 1908 London Olympic Games.

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The monarch and husband Prince Philip will be joined by a host of the country’s biggest sporting stars at the event at royal residence Windsor Castle.

Guests at the black tie reception will include Olympic gold medal winners Dame Kelly Holmes and Lord Coe, who is also the chairman of London’s 2012 Organising Committee.

The 1908 Olympics were due to be held in Rome, but after Mount Vesuvius erupted in the nearby city of Naples, the Italian city withdrew.

The International Olympic Committee approached London to host the event and the fledgling British Olympic Association (BOA), who only had two years to prepare, worked tirelessly to make sure they were a success.

At the Games gold, silver and bronze medals were formally awarded for the first time and British competitors won 56 golds. Following the reception, the queen and Philip will leave BOA president Princess Anne to host a dinner for the guests.

London last hosted the Olympics in 1948 and will have the Games in 2012.