The speeches may have begun with "your majesty, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen", but as a stuntman dressed as the Queen skydived into the stadium, the stuffiness of tradition also fell away.

The humorous touches at yesterday's opening ceremony were refreshing after the earnest spectacles of the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics. That was important, considering many of the crowd would have sat in their seats for the best part of six hours.

Queen Elizabeth II made her acting debut as a Bond girl in a pre-filmed cameo with Daniel Craig - and she clearly enjoyed making Agent 007 wait for her to complete some royal correspondence.

The appearance made a refreshing change from her more staid Christmas Day messages. The royals are on a roll and the 86-year-old did them little harm.


There were also little cameos from corgis Monty, Willow and Holly and a grim-faced footman, Paul. But the queen's "arrival" at the stadium via helicopter parachute was the highlight.

BBC director Nicholas Brown said the queen "got it in one take".