Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

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

Throughout her life, Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II adopted the style of monarchy that had defined her royal predecessors for centuries. She kept quiet and fulfilled her duties with stoicism, never feeling the need to voice her opinions as a hereditary, unelectable head of state. This quiet fortitude could sometimes be mistaken for aloofness thanks, in part, to the enormous amount of change throughout her 70-year reign, least of all the rapid evolution of entertainment and popular culture. But according to CNN, the queen was always said to have a genial sense of humor as well as a liking for many styles of media in the form of television, movies, and music.

Memorably, the monarch took part in the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics held in London, England. The ceremony was directed by acclaimed British filmmaker Danny Boyle and included a short film that featured Daniel Craig in character as James Bond, who visits Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace to accompany her to the start of the Olympics. Her role in the short film was not only a surprise to the world, but it was also a secret to many people we never would have imagined.

Queen Elizabeth kept her James Bond appearance a secret from the rest of the royal family

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."