An estimated three million people had packed into the centre of Washington to witness the changing of the guard. Photo: © Getty Images

It was the moment millions around the globe had been waiting to see. Standing on the steps of the US Capitol building with one hand placed over Abraham Lincoln's 1861 inauguration bible, Barack Obama took the oath of office, and in doing so became America's first African-American president.

Looking on proudly as the 47-year-old statesman pledged himself to the country were his wife Michelle Obama and daughters Malia, ten, and seven-year-old Sasha. Already becoming a fashion icon in her own right, the new First Lady chose a mustard yellow gold-embossed coat and matching shift-dress by Cuban-American designer Isabel Toledo for the occasion.

In time-honoured tradition, departing president George Bush and his wife Laura were on hand at the ceremony. There were also a handful of famous guests, including chat show queen Oprah Winfrey, environmental activist Al Gore, actors Dustin Hoffman, Samuel L Jackson and Denzel Washington.

An estimated three million people had crowded into the US capital to see the historic moment, many arriving just before dawn in standing-room-only trains. Before Mr Obama and new Vice President Joe Biden were sworn in there was a performance by soul legend Aretha Franklin, who sang My Country 'Tis Of Thee.

After the main event, which took place shortly after 5pm UK time, Mr Obama made his first address as President focusing on the themes of responsibility and accountability.


STING & TRUDIE STYLER

STING and TRUDIE STYLER
The couple braved the cold to watch Obama's swearing-in ceremony. Later tonight, Sting is expected to sing at an Inauguration concert at the Harman Center for the Arts.

ANNE HATHAWAY

ANNE HATHAWAY
"I was kind of afraid of Obama the first time I saw him. I thought, I've been burned by guys like you before," Hathaway has said. "It was around the time that he gave his speech on race that I just said 'I can't deny how I feel about you, Barack Obama. I want you to be the president. I want you in the White House.'"

RACHEL LEIGH COOK

RACHEL LEIGH COOK
The Obama supporter helped register voters ahead of the election.

ARETHA FRANKLIN

ARETHA FRANKLIN
The famed soul singer belted out "My Country 'Tis of Thee" before Obama was sworn in as the nation's 44th president.

SEAN COMBS

SEAN COMBS
"If I don't have the best seat in the house, I'll be all right," Diddy told Access Hollywood. "As long as I am there and around the people and able to witness my fellow Americans, I'll be cool."

JAY-Z & BEYONCE

JAY-Z & BEYONCE
Beyonce -- who will sing "At Last" for Barack and Michelle's first dance at tonight's Neighborhood Inauguration Ball -- joined her husband to watch the swearing-in ceremony.

DUSTIN HOFFMAN

DUSTIN HOFFMAN
The actor has called Obama "transformational."

OPRAH

OPRAH
Washington, D.C. is "the place to be," Obama's biggest supporter -- who even taped her talk show from the nation's capitol -- has said.

JOHN CUSACK

JOHN CUSACK
The actor and a pal stayed warm in the 30-degree weather with a cup of coffee.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

 ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER
The California governor, a republican, showed his respect for the new president -- despite calling for him to "beef up those scrawny arms" in November.

MUHAMMAD ALI

MUHAMMAD ALI
The boxing legend -- who was celebrating his 67th birthday -- showed up at 8:30 a.m. "He wouldn't have missed this for the world," his wife, Lonnie, said.

STEVEN SPIELBERG

STEVEN SPIELBERG
"He is the president of ideas," the director said. "This is more than just a presidential election. This is really the new beginning. Two of my kids are here. I just wanted them to...rub up against history."

DENZEL WASHINGTON

DENZEL WASHINGTO
The actor sat in the same row as Winfrey.

MAGIC JOHNSON

MAGIC JOHNSON
"Emotions are running high," the bundled-up former basketball player told reporters before the first black president was sworn in. "I never thought it would happen. It shows you how America has really grown and progressed."


SAMUEL L. JACKSON

SAMUEL L. JACKSON
The actor's car got caught in traffic on the way to the festivities, the Washington Post reported.

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