Olympics-Spirited Queen happy to play Bond girl

LONDON, July 28 Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:11pm EDT

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LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) - Queen Elizabeth needed little persuading in making her film debut, appearing with the country's most famous fictional spy James Bond during the London Olympic opening ceremony, organisers said on Saturday.

"The Queen was delighted to be asked, and be involved in something so exceptional," a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman told Reuters.

"Very pleased to take part, and it was our Olympics and the Queen was delighted to be part of it."

The 86-year-old monarch was also happy for two of her beloved corgis, Monty, 13, and Holly, nine, to play cameo roles.

The short pre-recorded clip, which showed 007 escorting the Queen to the stadium, revealed a self-deprecating side rarely seen by the public and gave a window into her well-reported sharp sense of humour.

The depiction of her derring-do arrival was a quirky moment in an eclectic ceremony on Friday.

The opening shot showed the Queen sitting at a writing table in Buckingham Palace, welcoming Bond, played by Daniel Craig.

"Good evening, Mr Bond," she said, turning around in her chair, dressed in a pale peach outfit.

The pair then made their way to a waiting helicopter in the grounds of the central London palace, seemingly leaving her doting corgis on the doorstep.

The helicopter then zipped across the city where a man dressed in a tuxedo skydived down into the Olympic Park in east London, followed by a figure in a pale peach dress.

The Queen then immediately appeared in the main stadium in front of 60,000 spectators - and without a hair out of place, before taking her seat.

The film was the brainchild of the ceremony's director Danny Boyle, but it was London organising committee (LOCOG) chairman Seb Coe who first approached the palace in 2011.

When asked how much it took to persuade the Queen to take part, a LOCOG spokeswoman said: "Not much."

"I think she really liked the whole concept Danny had put together."

Oscar-winning director Boyle shot the scenes in the palace's quadrangle, the Grand Entrance, the East Gallery, the Audience Room and the West Terrace, in March and April this year.

"You don't have to tell her something twice," Boyle was quoted as saying by British media.

"She picks it up straight away, about cameras and angles."

The Queen was then given a viewing before its official showing.

"She was very happy to take part, she was happy to do what she did," the Buckingham Palace spokeswoman added.

MEDIA HIT

Her off-beat appearance was a hit with the British media.

"It's been received really well, we always knew it would," the palace spokeswoman added.

When asked if it might be the monarch's last appearance in a film, she said: "Never say never, but I imagine so, it was a very special one-off."

Other members of the Royal Family have had cameo appearances in long-running TV and radio soap operas.

Her stuntman Gary Connery said the part had been exciting, but he'd not been allowed to keep the dress.

"It's all part of it, and you just go with the flow," he told BBC television.

"Last night was the first time I'd actually had the make-up on.

"The process of making me the Queen ... had been three to four months."

It capped off a successful year for the Queen who in June marked 60 years on the throne with a weekend extravaganza that saw millions of flag waving Britons take to the streets to show their affection and appreciation for a monarch more normally renowned for her stately dignity. (Reporting by Avril Ormsby, editing by Justin Palmer)

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