Last night, at the Olympic Opening Ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II appeared in her first movie acting role and proved herself an instant comedy hit.
Her Majesty was seen in a film alongside James Bond actor Daniel Craig before apparently “parachuting” into the stadium for the opening ceremony.
The recorded sequence opened at Buckingham Palace, where a tuxedo-wearing Daniel Craig as 007 was presented to the Queen by her personal footman as she was writing a letter and training her corgis Monty, Willow and Holly to roll over.
Greeting him with an “Evening, Mr. Bond”, the Queen, in a rose-pink dress, was seen striding briskly through the palace with the action hero before climbing into a helicopter emblazoned with the Union Flag.
Queen Elizabeth II appeared in her first movie acting role and proved herself an instant comedy hit
The two were depicted as soaring over the streets of London and through Tower Bridge until they finally reached the Olympic Park.
As the film reached its climax, spectators inside the east London stadium heard an Agusta Westland AW139 helicopter, which finally appeared hovering above.
As the aircraft steadied in the movie sequence, James Bond was seen opening the door and appearing to hesitate. While he dithered, the figure of the Queen pushed past him and dived out into the air followed by 007 – Union Jack parachutes streaming behind them. Meanwhile, from the real helicopter above the stadium, the same two figures appeared to plunge to earth.
And, with the familiar Bond theme tune sounding around the stadium, the spotlight shone on the Royal Box to reveal the Queen in exactly the same dress she wore in the film.
Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, she entered to rapturous applause with Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee.
The Union Flag was then carried into the stadium and raised by representatives of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF.
Director Danny Boyle said: “The Queen made herself more accessible than ever before.”
Organizers said that having to secure permission to fly along the Thames through Tower Bridge – which had never been done before – was a challenge in itself.
The two parachutists who actually leapt from the helicopter last night were Gary Connery, a professional base jumper, and Mark Suttan, a former officer in the Royal Gurkha Rifles.
A German dignitary at the Olympic Opening Ceremony appeared to greet his country’s athletes with a Nazi salute.
The elderly man was caught on video repeatedly extending his right arm back and forth prompting a few awkward stares from members of the crowd.
Bizarrely he was sitting in front of Boris Johnson and Camilla Parker-Bowles who looked bemused at first before bursting into laughter.
Meanwhile a Conservative MP, who was demoted after attending a reportedly Nazi-themed stag party, appeared to describe the Olympic Opening Ceremony as “leftie multi-cultural crap”.
The comments, claiming the ceremony was more left wing than that which opened the 2008 Beijing Games in Communist China, appeared in a Twitter account purporting to be that of Aidan Burley, Tory MP for Cannock Chase.
The opening section showcased British history, including the creation of the NHS and the Jarrow march, a 1936 protest against unemployment in the North East.
A German dignitary at the Olympic Opening Ceremony appeared to greet his country's athletes with a Nazi salute
Two tweets were posted from @AidanBurleyMP, saying: “The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen – more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?”
A second tweet read: “Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!”
Downing Street distanced itself from the comments, with a senior source saying: “We do not agree with him.”
The tweets, widely repeated, caused an avalanche of criticism on the social networking site including from a fellow Conservative, Croydon MP Gavin Barwell.
“@AidanBurleyMP with respect, us Londoners are rather proud of the diversity of our city £nothingleftwingaboutit,” he tweeted in reply.
Aidan Burley lost his job as a parliamentary private secretary after media reports of the party on December 3 last year in a restaurant in the French Alpine resort of Val Thorens, at which one guest is alleged to have dressed in an SS uniform and others are said to have chanted Nazi slogans.
The Cannock Chase MP has repeatedly apologized for being present at the event, but said in December: “I do not believe I have broken any French law and have distanced myself from the behavior of other people on the stag.”
A later tweet from the account said the previous comments had been ”misunderstood”.
“Seems my tweet has been misunderstood. I was talking about the way it was handled in the show, not multiculturalism itself,” it said.
The event, in which the Queen had a starring role, featured a diverse cast including James Bond star Daniel Craig and JK Rowling, merging music, dance and special effects into a spectacular opening.
The world-wide audience was treated to a greatest hits medley of British pop over the decades with bursts of the Beatles, the Jam, Sex Pistols and Dizzee Rascal.
There were also excerpts from the Kinks, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Mud’s Tiger Feet before Emeli Sande sang the cup final classic Abide With Me.
Danny Boyle, artistic director of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, has apologized to volunteers over “spoilers” appearing in the press.
In an email sent to the 10,000 members of the public participating in the 27 July event, Danny Boyle asked them to “stay virtuous” and “protect the show”.
“Many of you have been dismayed by the media scrutiny on the show,” he wrote.
“I am sorry that, despite our best efforts, we appear to be unable to stop these stories appearing in the press.”
At a media briefing last month, the Oscar-winning director revealed the ceremony would feature a recreation of the “British countryside” featuring country scenes and farmyard animals.
Danny Boyle, artistic director of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, has apologized to volunteers over "spoilers" appearing in the press
In the weeks that followed, several newspapers published follow-up stories revealing additional, unsanctioned information about the event.
“Some of you have asked why we agreed to the two media briefings we have done when <<open season>> continues on trying to reveal every aspect of our work to the public ahead of 27 July,” wrote Danny Boyle in his email.
“We thought they would be a good way to satisfy the media’s curiosity about our show but, in the case of certain papers, it hasn’t quenched their desire to be the first to reveal every detail possible.”
London 2012 organizing committee chairman Lord Coe made similar comments on Twitter at the weekend asking for details to be kept secret.
“Share the frustration of volunteer performers and the public at Opening Ceremony being unofficially trailed. Let’s #savethesurprise,” he said.
One billion people worldwide are expected to watch the opening ceremony, which will feature music by electronic duo Underworld and a “harmonically-tuned” bell weighing 23 tons.
Cast rehearsals continue at the Olympic stadium in east London, which has been fitted with a million-watt sound system.
Cast members have been asked to sign and abide by a non-disclosure agreement.