'Go Granny!': Inside Queen Elizabeth's secret Bond video
A performer playing Queen Elizabeth parachutes from a helicopter during the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games. The parachutist, Gary Connery, landed safely outside Olympic Stadium, just moments before the real Queen opened the Games. (Reuters)
We always suspected that the Queen was good at keeping secrets.
As if more proof was needed, the chairman of the 2012 London Olympics, Lord Seb Coe, has revealed the secrets that were kept as he assembled the pieces resulting in the Queen's star turn in the James Bond video that highlighted the opening ceremony of the Games.
According to Coe, only an handful of people were aware of the Queen's involvement -- including Prime Minister David Cameron -- and even the senior members of the Royal Family were kept in the dark.
"So when the sequence began, with the corgis racing up what were obviously very familiar stairs, Prince Charles looked at me and began laughing rather nervously, wondering where on earth this was going," Coe wrote in his autobiography "Running My Life," which is being excerpted it the Times of London.
"And when the film cut to the shot of the Royal back, he had exactly the same reaction as everyone else, which was to assume that it was the lady who does the impersonations. But the moment she turned around and everyone realized 'My God! It really is the Queen!' he began roaring with laughter. As for his sons (William and Harry), they were beside themselves."
The young princes were sitting behind Coe in the Royal Box, watching in amazement as their grandmother walked with 007 (Daniel Craig) down the Palace corridor. The sequence ends in a helicopter taking off and finally with the Queen (actually, her double), parachuting over the stadium.
"As she started her descent two voices shouted out in unison behind me, ‘go, Granny!’," wrote Coe. "While I knew we had a winner, I have to admit that I was taken aback by the level of approval it did achieve.”
The idea for the video originally came from director Danny Boyle, who brought it to Coe. He knew the Queen's deputy private secretary and eventually PM Cameron was brought into the circle. He brought up the idea with the Queen during one of his weekly meetings with the monarch.
It was on March 27, four months before the Games, that the video was shot, directed by Boyle and in plenty of secrecy, despite having 130 people involved in the shoot.
Coe admitted the whole operation had a bit of surrealism about it, and he was filled with some apprehension right up to the moment of watching the 'Queen' fall from the sky in a peach-coloured dress.
"Oh my God!," Coe recollected. "What have we sanctioned here!"
(Check out a double-sided version of the video here:)