It’s kind of unbelievable to read reports in the British press that Queen Elizabeth II, a woman who fulfills her job and duty with utmost diligence, has agreed to be filmed bestowing a “knighthood” on a fictional character for the world to see. Though let’s be clear–this isn’t just any old personality but James Bond, her most loyal and swashbuckling civil servant—albeit one with a licence to kill—who saves her realm with dizzying regularity and loves being “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”
The scene is reportedly part of a spectacular opening ceremony being created for the London Olympics. Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) is the event’s artistic director. And he and Daniel Craig, the latest Bond beefcake, have both been filming at Buckingham Palace recently. The speculation is that the scene will include the Queen giving Bond a mission to open the Games, which he apparently does via a parachute. “Daniel Craig was here in black tie one morning in early April,” says a source to the Evening Standard. “Judi Dench [who plays M, the head of MI-6] was also here, and the talk of the Palace was that Bond was going to be knighted that morning.”
And it wasn’t an actress (think Helen Mirren of The Queen) who did the honour of tapping Craig on the shoulders with the sword but the real deal: HM the Queen. Why she’d do it is unknown, though one suspects that her grandchildren had a hand in persuading her that it wouldn’t hurt her image. After all, with 60 years of service under her belt, there’s no one alive on the planet who thinks she doesn’t take her job seriously.
If the stories are true, it’s a fitting honour. James Bond has been fictionally saving her kingdom for virtually the entire length of her reign; Casino Royale (the book) was published in her coronation year, 1953, when they were both new to their jobs. As Ian Fleming’s biographer Andrew Lycett says, “Bond did sterling work for Queen and country and deserves a gong.”
We won’t know whether the rumours are true until July 27. Craig isn’t giving anything away, telling a radio station, “According to the papers, I’ve got an invitation, I’ve been, had tea, sat out with the corgis.”