No skydiving with James Bond this time… but the Queen still gets one of the biggest cheers as she opens the Games
08:15 GMT, 30 August 2012
There was no need for a parachute, and 007 must have been busy saving the world – but the Queen still managed to raise one of the biggest cheers of the night at the Paralympics Opening Ceremony.
Her appearance alongside Daniel Craig at the Olympics opening spectacular – a skit which saw Her Majesty and James Bond arrive by helicopter before stunt doubles skydived towards the stadium – brought a smile to people's faces around the globe.
And while Prince Edward perhaps failed to fill 007's shoes and Her Majesty's arrival was more traditional, her mere presence was enough to delight the crowd.
Popular: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex look on during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics
Grand entrance: Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, LOCOG chairman Lord Sebastian Coe and his wife Carole Annett applaud Queen Elizabeth II during the Opening Ceremony
It is the first time a British monarch has officiated at the openings of both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.
After a fanfare, the Queen, wearing a gold and silver brocade outfit, was joined by other royals including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Kate looked elegant in a fitted cream coat.
Her Majesty was welcomed into the presidential box by Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee.
Olympics opening skit: James Bond and the Queen make their way to the waiting helicopter through the corridors of Buckingham Palace
Smooth operators: James Bond actor Daniel Craig and the Queen in the helicopter
Dramatic entrance: The helicopter hovered over the Olympic Stadium, before the 'Queen' jumped out, pulling the rip cord on a Union Flag parachute
Once she was seated, nine servicemen and women from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force holding a large Union Jack processed past her to the accompaniment of composer William Walton’s A Wartime Sketchbook.
The flag was then raised to the
accompaniment of Benjamin Britten’s arrangement of the National Anthem
performed by a 430-strong choir.
The Queen rose and said: ‘It is with
tremendous pride that the people of London and the United Kingdom
welcome the world to the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
‘The Games are returning to the country where they first began, more than 60 years ago.
look forward to celebrating the uplifting spirit which distinguishes
the Paralympic Games from other events, drawing on Britain’s unique
‘The athletes’ endeavours and
triumphs will excite and inspire people wherever they live. I look
forward to memorable Games that leave a lasting legacy for London, the
UK and the worldwide Paralympic movement.’
Elegant entrance: Queen Elizabeth II arrives at a reception at the Olympic Stadium
Britain's Queen Elizabeth is presented with three Paralympic medals by Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee
Queen Elizabeth II meets members of the International Paralympic Committee at the reception
Philip had been due to attend the opening ceremony but instead remained
at Balmoral as he continues to recover from a bladder infection.
British Paralympic legend Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson tweeted: ‘Just
welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the opening ceremony. Now
sitting in royal box.’
Heads of state from 15 other countries were also in attendance.
Olympic athletes Sir Chris Hoy and
Tom Daley wished their Paralympics colleagues well, as did
four-time Olympic sailing gold medallist Ben Ainslie, who said:
‘Good luck to our British team in the Paralympics, especially the
sailing team. Go for it.’
Sir Philip Craven MBE, pictured here with Queen Elizabeth and her son Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex has competed in five Paralympic Games from 1972 to 1988
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Edward and Sophie Countess of Wessex look on as the ceremony progresses
Meanwhile, Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker was taking a more laid back approach. ‘Paralympics opening ceremony until El Clasico [Barcelona vs Real Madrid] kicks off. Decent night in front of the tele,’ he posted on Twitter.
Speaking ahead of the opening ceremony actor Sir Ian McKellen, who had a key role in last night’s proceedings, said: ‘I’m the least sporty person I know but thrilled to have a small part to play in the Paralympic opening ceremony in praise of endeavour and enlightenment.
‘British athletes shone at the Olympics. I am hoping the same is true of the Paralympics.’
Twitpic: The Cameron's posted this image from the Number 10 Twitter account before the ceremony got underway
VIDEO: Queen meets members of International Paralympic Committee ahead of ceremony