Greece was entered first, as the nation of the ancient and first modern Olympic Games. The host nation Great Britain (as the United Kingdom is known at the Games) marched last. Other countries entered in alphabetical order in the language of the host country (English), according with tradition and IOC guidelines.
Whilst most countries entered under their short names, a few entered under more formal or alternative names, sometimes due to political or naming disputes. Macedonia entered as "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'" because of the naming dispute with Greece. The Republic of China (commonly known as Taiwan) entered with the compromised name and flag of "Chinese Taipei" under T so that they did not enter together with conflicting People's Republic of China (commonly known as China), which entered as the "People's Republic of China" under C. The Republic of the Congo entered as just "Congo" while the Democratic Republic of the Congo entered with its full name. Similarly South Korea entered as "Republic of Korea" under K while North Korea entered as "Democratic People's Republic of Korea". The British Virgin Islands entered under B while the United States Virgin Islands entered as simply the "Virgin Islands", under V. Iran, Micronesia, Moldova, Laos, Brunei and the United States all entered under their formal names, respectively "Islamic Republic of Iran", "Federated States of Micronesia", "Republic of Moldova", "Lao People's Democratic Republic", "Brunei Darussalam" and "United States of America". For the first time in many years, Libyan athletes marched as "Libya", and not "Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" as Libya was known during the reign of Muammar Gaddafi.
Each team was led by a flagbearer (listed below), accompanied by a child volunteer carrying a copper petal (camera-left) and a young lady carrying a sign with the country's English name (camera-right). The copper petal was engraved with the name of the nation and would later be used to build the cauldron for the Olympic flame. The volunteer carrying the sign wore a dress made entirely from fabric printed with photos of Olympic volunteers, including those who had not been chosen. Each nation's flag was planted as it arrived at the model of Glastonbury Tor.
Netherlands Antilles was not eligible to participate separately in the parade, as its National Olympic Committee was no longer recognized by the IOC due to the 2010 dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles. However, Dutch Antilleans paraded independently under the Olympic flag, together with a South Sudanese runner whose newly independent country did not yet have an Olympic committee.