She’s held many titles over the course of her 61-year reign, but this is probably the first time Queen Elizabeth II has been referred to as “the most memorable Bond girl yet.” On Thursday the British Academy of Film and Television Arts presented Her Majesty with an honorary BAFTA award for her surprise appearance during last year’s Olympics opening ceremony, in which she made a cameo alongside James Bond actor Daniel Craig.
At a gala held at Windsor Castle by the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, to celebrate the British film industry, Sir Kenneth Branagh (who also took part in the Olympics opening ceremony) presented the Queen with the award for her “sensational appearance.” (BAFTA chairman John Willis gets credit for the “Bond girl” quip.)
“Several of my colleagues here tonight want you to know,” Branagh told the Queen, ”that should you wish to take it further into the world of British films that they have a number of scripts with them here this evening.” However, he added, “I have to warn you, Your Majesty, not all of these films are fully financed.”
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The award also recognized the (offscreen) role the Queen, 86, has played over the years, by supporting Britain’s film and television industry. Among the 300 guests present were the likes of Homeland star Damian Lewis, John Hurt, Minnie Driver, Idris Elba, Helena Bonham Carter and Thandie Newton. American director George Lucas, who flew over for the reception, noted how important the U.K. had been for him (some of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, among others, were partly made at Elstree Studios, near London). “I’ve been here since ’75 so for me this is my second home,” he remarked.