Shard opened by Qatari PM, Duke of York

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A light show using lasers and searchlight beams that crossed over the Shard’s neighbouring skyscrapers in London, England. Photo – Jayne Hodge/Flickr!

Europe’s tallest building has been officially unveiled in central London by the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of Qatar, Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, and The Duke of York, Prince Andrew.

The Shard’s has emerged as the capital’s most noticeable landmarks thanks to its tapered design and glass panelling.

Hardly a few hundred metres from the banks of the River Thames in Southwark, the tower seems to pierce the sky as it shoots more than 1,016ft (309.6m) into the air.

The tower, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, contains offices, exclusive residences, a luxury hotel, restaurants and a viewing gallery across 72 floors. 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.

“I’m extremely pleased to see that this is going to give this quarter of London a huge new boost,” Prince Andrew said after pressing a black button to mark the unveiling.

“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,” he added.

The Prince, fourth in line to the British throne, expressed his hope that the feat could be repeated in a number of other areas across the UK.

“Standing at almost 310 metres, The Shard will be one of the tallest buildings in Western Europe. For me however, the height of the Shard is only secondary. What is special is the solid and continuing relationship between two nations – Qatar and Britain – which has been an important factor in completing this project,” Sheikh Abdullah Bin Saoud Al Thani, the governor of Qatar Central Bank and chairman of the board of directors of the Shard Funding Limited and London Bridge Quarter, said in a statement.

The tower is a centre piece of the $3bn London Quarter project, which is being developed by Qatari Diar and the Sellar Property Group.

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