The Big Secret Queen Elizabeth II Kept While Filming That 2012 Olympics James Bond Opener

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For those who remember watching the short, seeing a largely unknowable Queen Elizabeth II take part in a mini-movie with Daniel Craig as James Bond was undoubtedly surprising. Up to that point, the queen was only ever known through images, news footage, and occasional documentaries. Although she maintained this air of mystery in “Happy and Glorious,” jumping out of a helicopter to land in London’s Olympic Stadium was a masterclass in cheeky British humor. It is no wonder that seeing their monarch in such a comedic persona drove Britons to name the clip one of the top moments in U.K. TV history (per The Hollywood Reporter).

Those who worked on the film spoke about it to the BBC in a tenth-anniversary retrospective (via The Wrap). Sam Hunter, the production stage manager, said, “The queen never told her family she was doing it. That was one of the stipulations, that she agreed to be part of it. So, if you actually see when she comes and she takes her seat, you can see her family go, ‘Ah, nice one.’” Executive producer Stephen Daldry also shared that they even had to keep members of Prime Minister David Cameron’s cabinet in the dark to maintain the secrecy she requested. He added, “What was hard was that you didn’t really want to say much to the Cabinet because you didn’t know how secure they were.”

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