How Queen Elizabeth II Ensured Famous James Bond Scene Was Authentic

Queen Elizabeth II stepped in to make sure her famous on-screen cameo with James Bond for the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony was authentic, a new biography has revealed.

Journalist Robert Hardman reveals in an extract from his new book, Queen Of Our Times: The Life Of Elizabeth II published in the Daily Mail, that the Queen sent a message to the producers of Danny Boyle's short film, Happy and Glorious about how she would prefer to address the fictional spy.

Queen Elizabeth II Daniel Craig
Queen Elizabeth II made it known that she would prefer to greet Daniel Craig as "Mr Bond" in their performance in the short film 'Happy and Glorious' for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. Here at the premiere of 'Casino Royale' in London, November 14, 2006. Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Jeremy Hunt, the then Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, told Hardman that instead of greeting the character, played by Daniel Craig, with "Good evening, James", the Queen let it be known that she would prefer to say "Good evening, Mr. Bond" for the sake of authenticity.

The cameo made by the monarch was met with rapturous applause in the Olympic stadium on the evening of the opening ceremony but the top secret filming wouldn't have taken place if not for a chance request made via email by the producers.

"They didn't think for a moment that they would get to film the Queen. It was only an afterthought, sent via her staff, without much hope," Hunt told Hardman in Queen of Our Times. At first the production team only hoped for permission from the Queen to film in various locations around the palace.

The project was kept a secret from all of the Queen's family except for Prince Philip, so that on the evening of the opening ceremony nobody knew what was coming.

Speaking in the television film Elizabeth at 90—A Family Tribute, Prince William commented:

"I remember certain expletives coming out of my mouth when I realized what was going on... it was actually a very well-kept secret. Probably more of a state secret than some of the intelligence documents that she receives... nothing was told to any of us. Clearly they knew that certain grandchildren would go around telling everybody too much!"

Queen Elizabeth II London 2012
Queen Elizabeth II opens the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium, July 27, 2012. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The film shows James Bond, played by Craig, arriving at Buckingham Palace to collect the Queen and take her via helicopter to the Olympic stadium. The "queen" is then shown jumping out of the helicopter supported by a Union Jack parachute before making her official entrance into the Olympic stadium. The film is also noted for the cameo of some of the Queen's most trusted companions, her Page of the Backstairs, Paul Whybrew, and a group of her beloved corgis.

Speaking to Stephen Colbert last month, Craig said of his time filming with the Queen:

"She's very funny. She wanted to crack a joke at me... We were having our photo taken and she said 'Oh no, he's the one that doesn't smile'."

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games attracted an estimated audience of around 900 million viewers worldwide. The Queen opened the games as part of a royal tradition following her father who opened the 1948 London games and her great-grandfather who opened the 1908 games.

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