LONDON — Queen Elizabeth needed little persuading in making her film debut, appearing with the country’s most famous fictional spy James Bond during the London Olympic opening ceremony.
In a brief, tongue-in-cheek film broadcast to a packed Olympic stadium late on Friday — as well as a massive worldwide television audience — Bond actor Daniel Craig entered Buckingham Palace wearing his trademark tuxedo.
After a pause, Her Majesty turns from her writing desk and says simply: “Good evening, Mr Bond.”
She uttered just four words, but they were seen as a highly personal touch from a monarch once seen as aloof.
“The queen was delighted to be asked, and be involved in something so exceptional,” a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said on Saturday. “Very pleased to take part, and it was our Olympics and the queen was delighted to be part of it.”
Princess Diana’s death in 1997 was a low-point for the royal family, yet the huge crowds that greeted her during Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June were proof of how far the queen had recovered in the eyes of the public.
London mayor Boris Johnson, who escorted the 86-year-old monarch around the Olympic Park during an official tour on Saturday, said that she was “thrilled” about the film and keen to know if people found her cameo role funny.
“My impression is that she loved it,” the staunch royalist told reporters.
“Maybe, you know, there won’t be many film performances that she will give and whether she will get an Oscar, I don’t know,” he joked.
The pre-recorded clip also showed 007 escorting the queen to the stadium in a moment of levity rarely shared by the public, who can only read about her well-reported sense of humour.
The 86-year-old monarch was happy for two of her beloved corgis, Monty (13) and Holly (9) to play a role. The depiction of her derring-do arrival was a quirky moment in an eclectic ceremony on Friday.