James Bond actor Daniel Craig and the Queen stole the show at an exuberant 2012 Olympic opening on Friday, appearing together in a short film beamed to 60,000 spectators in the main stadium and a billion viewers around the world.
The comedic, quintessentially British moment complemented a London show that film director Danny Boyle, an Oscar winner for "Slumdog Millionaire", turned into an unabashed celebration of the host nation's history, culture and eccentricity.
In the tongue-in-cheek film Craig wears his trademark tuxedo and enters Buckingham Palace. The 86-year-old monarch with two corgis at her feet and in her cinematic debut, turns from a writing desk and says simply: "Good evening, Mr. Bond."
The moment drew a huge cheer from the audience, not used to seeing Her Majesty play such an informal part in proceedings, and coincides with a resurgence in the royal family's popularity following the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Doubles of Bond and the queen then parachuted from a helicopter above the stadium, built on the Olympic Park in a once derelict area of London's East End, and the national anthem sang by schoolchildren and Union flag raising followed.
Image: The President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge, left, and Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, back right, applaud as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, foreground right, arrives during the Opening Ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 27, 2012, in London.