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How the Queen's iconic cameo in the London Summer Olympics opening ceremony came to be

By Zach Harper


Do you remember when the Queen "parachuted" into the Olympics?

Her Majesty's opening of the 2012 London Summer Olympics is still one of the greatest moments in the history of the Games, and we're not just saying that because we're big fans of her already.

If you're not familiar with it, the Queen appeared with Daniel Craig in a James Bond mini-movie directed by Danny Boyle that was broadcast as part of the opening ceremonies that year. In it, Daniel arrives at Buckingham Palace to rescue her via helicopter. They "fly" down the Thames, past many landmarks, including Tower Bridge, the London Eye and more before arriving at the stadium, where the two make the best "entrance" anyone has ever made during any Olympics – jumping out of the helicopter in Union Jack-bedecked parachutes.

Of course, it wasn't actually her making the leap. She and Prince Philip were in the stands already, waiting to arrive at their seats. But the crowd loved it, going wild for the monarch the second she appeared on screen during the broadcast and giving her a standing ovation as she and the Duke of Edinburgh made their way to their seats.

In 2019, Angela Kelly, the Queen's long-time dresser and close confidante, revealed some key details about this special cameo in her book, The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe.

Angela designed two peach and lace crystal dresses for the Queen to wear in the clip. In 2011, Angela, Danny and the Queen's Private Secretary, Edward Young, took part in a meeting about the idea. They pitched the cameo to Angela and Edward.

Her Majesty was tickled pink by the idea, Angela wrote, "and agreed immediately," but told her friend she wanted to do more than just be in the film and not say anything. She is the Queen, after all.

"I asked then if she would like a speaking part," Angela wrote. "Without hesitation, Her Majesty replied: 'Of course I must say something. After all, he is coming to rescue me.'"

"I asked whether she would like to say: 'Good evening, James,' or: 'Good evening, Mr. Bond,' and she chose the latter, knowing the Bond films," Angela continued. "Within minutes, I was back in Edward’s office delivering the good news to Danny – I think he almost fell off his chair when I said that the Queen's only stipulation was that she could deliver that iconic line."

And it went on to become iconic itself!

No doubt Her Majesty will be following Britain and the Commonwealth's athletes as the Tokyo Games open July 23!

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