The Olympic games aren’t yet a week old and have already proved to be riveting – there’s been the triumph of Michael Phelps, the drama of the American Gymnastic team, and the lovely quirk of sports like Badminton and synchronized diving. Above all, though, the Olympics have delivered unprecedented spectacle in the form of the opening ceremony. Charming, funny, and awe-inspiring, the Danny Boyle-directed affair was a smashing success from front to back. Of course, out of all the acts that it produced, none could compare with the introduction of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II, escorted by none other than James Bond and “parachuting” into the ceremony from a helicopter overhead.
As part of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, viewers were treated to a miniature James Bond adventure, Happy and Glorious, (with Daniel Craig playing the role of the secret agent in his signature shawl-collar tuxedo) in which Bond arrives at Buckingham palace and is received by Queen Elizabeth. The two then depart for a nearby helipad, and are sped down the Thames and over London Bridge to the “Isles of Wonder” venue, at which point the screen becomes a live feed of a helicopter hovering overhead, and filmed two Bond-and-Elizabeth-like figures jumping into the stadium via parachute. BBC reported on all the work that went in to producing the short, as well as the scheduling difficulties and ultimate good fortune that allowed the piece to be finished in time for the Games.
No, the Queen herself did not actually parachute into the stadium…but she certainly played herself in the film, and stole the show in a simple and elegant ensemble of salmon dress and hat to match, and her parachuting stunt-double reflected every detail of her outfit, right down to the plume in her hat. The film itself also featured Her Majesty’s beloved Corgis in a cameo, and gave a distinct nod to Brazil as the future host of the Olympics in 2016. The Queen appeared in person immediately following the jump, to a well-deserved resounding round of applause from statesmen and spectators alike.
The ceremony itself was nearly four hours in length and featured performances by Two Door Cinema Club and Sir Paul McCartney in addition to stunning fireworks displays. Yet somehow, the Queen’s entrance remained the high point of the show for many; the way it combined tradition, culture, and an irresistibly playful and fun spirit captured the moment and reflected the very essence of the Olympics themselves. Regardless of how the games unfold moving forward (and have yet to disappoint), London 2012 will remain a classic if only for the jolly good show they have already treated us to. Hats off to Her Majesty, Mr. Bond, and Danny Boyle for entertaining us and stealing our hearts at the same time.