The Queen had only one request for her appearance with James Bond at the opening of the 2012 London Olympics - that she could deliver the line: "Good evening, Mr Bond."
Her dressmaker and confidante Angela Kelly reveals in a new book it took ‘just five minutes’ to persuade Her Majesty to agree to director Danny Boyle’s request for her to appear alongside Daniel Craig in the famous footage of her appearing to parachute into the Olympic Stadium.
Mrs Kelly, the Queen’s dresser of 25 years, tells how she was called to a meeting with Boyle and private secretary Edward Young to discuss the idea in 2011.
‘I asked him and Edward to give me five minutes so that I could ask the Queen,’ she said. ‘I remember the look of shock on Danny’s face that I would be asking Her Majesty straight away, but there’s no point in waiting around with these things: If she said no, that would be the end of it.
‘I ran upstairs and luckily the Queen was free. She was very amused by the idea and agreed immediately. I asked if she would like a speaking part. Without hesitation, Her Majesty replied, “Of course I must say something. After all, he is coming to rescue me”.
‘I asked whether she would like to say, “Good evening, James” or “Good evening, Mr Bond” and she chose the latter, knowing the Bond films. Within minutes, I was back in Edward’s office delivering the good news to Danny – I think he almost fell off his chair when I said that the Queen’s only stipulation was that she could deliver that iconic line.’
In another anecdote from the book – The Other Side Of The Coin: The Queen, The Dresser And The Wardrobe, which is published tomorrow – Mrs Kelly, 61, tells how she played a prank on the Queen with a toy kookaburra during a tour to Australia in 2006.
The Queen had told her about the bird and how it ‘makes a sound you will never forget’ and that they would be likely to see ‘many’ of them. But after failing to see or hear one, Mrs Kelly bought a stuffed toy one in a market in Sydney and put it outside the Queen’s room in a little cage.
Mrs Kelly said: ‘I went to open the cage doors and she said loudly, “No don’t do that it will fly away”, and was behind me in a flash. I went to the bird, picked it up and solemnly told her it was dead.
‘She looked horrified as I walked towards her and as she took the bird from my hands she realised I had been winding her up. It was really a stuffed toy. “April Fool”, I said with a mischievous grin on my face and she had only two words for me - “You’re sacked”.’
In the book, extracts from which appear in this week’s Hello! Magazine, Mrs Kelly also says she personally wears in the Queen’s shoes.
She said: ‘As has been reported a lot in the press, a flunky wears in Her Majesty’s shoes to ensure that they are comfortable. And yes, I am that flunky ... as we share the same shoe size it makes the most sense this way.’
Mrs Kelly also dispelled reports that the Queen was offended by Michelle Obama putting her arm around her during a 2009 reception at Buckingham Palace. She pointed out that the Queen had responded the same way and said there was ‘an instant and mutual warmth’ between the two women.