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The sweet story behind the Queen’s acting role with James Bond



Cerith Gardiner - published on 11/29/21

Her unusual performance showed a different side to the sovereign.

Recently there’s been a lot of concern about Queen Elizabeth II’s health, and it comes at a time when there’s been much media attention paid to another British legend — 007, James Bond. So we thought we’d share a delightful story you may not have heard, which took place behind the scenes of the London Olympic Games opening ceremony in 2012. It was a moment in which the audience saw a very different side to the British monarch and the much-loved spy.

On the stadium’s large screen — and all the TV screens of sports fans watching from their homes — the audience witnessed a spoof of Queen Elizabeth II being rescued by James Bond, culminating in the pair supposedly parachuting into the stadium.

The director of the opening ceremony, Danny Boyle, had asked the sovereign to take part in the short clip that showcased some of the best of Britain. According to the recent book The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe, by the sovereign’s dressmaker and confidante, Angela Kelly, the Queen jumped at the opportunity to act alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond. However, she insisted on a speaking role, according to a report in The Independent.

If you haven’t already seen the now-famous video, the Queen delivered her one line of “Good evening, Mr Bond” to perfection. According to Boyle she also did a little improvising — her writing in the first scene was apparently her idea. Yet there were a few extra delights in the video.

With Mr. Bond escorting Her Majesty out of the palace, we see the Queen’s two corgis — Holly and Willow. Sadly both dogs have passed away, but their cameo appearance captures just how much the Queen treasured her beloved pets. In fact, Boyle really made them the stars of the video, no doubt to the Queen’s delight.

Interestingly, the sovereign decided to keep her acting career a bit of a secret. Her dressmaker prepared the outfit she was wearing in duplicate — one for the video and one for the Queen’s real arrival into the stadium — months in advance.

On the night the video was shown at the stadium, her grandsons, Princes William and Harry, and her son, Prince Charles, were seated behind her. They got a complete shock when they realized it was the real-life queen who was starring with 007 in front of their eyes. According to the chairman of the British Olympic Association, Lord Coe, her grandsons gave a shout of “Go Granny!”

Those couple of minutes of seeing the lighter side of the Queen gave us all a little more insight into the 95-year-old mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, animal lover, and James Bond fan.

(And for Bond fans, Daniel Craig reported “shaking with nerves” while playing the spy who rescued the British sovereign … and her dogs!)

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