The Queen expressed ‘real joy’ when acting in comedy sketches, says writer

·4-min read

Frank Cottrell-Boyce, who co-wrote the Queen’s TV appearances with Paddington Bear and Daniel Craig, said she was keen to be involved in the comedy sketches.

The world saw a more playful side to the head of state in 2012 when the Queen made a cameo appearance in Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony for the London Olympics.

James Bond, played by 007 actor Craig, called on the palace where the monarch, who was sitting at her writing desk, made him wait before greeting him with the words: “Good evening, Mr Bond.”

The Queen
The Queen with James Bond actor Daniel Craig in London Olympic Games opening ceremony sketch (BBC One/PA)

They walked together alongside corgis towards a helicopter and set off, flying over London to the Olympic stadium, concluding with a stunt double of the Queen parachuting into the arena.

Seconds later the real Queen, wearing the same peach dress as the stunt double, entered the stadium to rapturous applause.

Cottrell-Boyce, 62, told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “She volunteered herself for the Olympic opening ceremony, we didn’t expect her to want to do it.

“We went to the palace asking for permission to represent her and to know what she was wearing on the day and it was her amazing dresser who said, ‘No no she wants to be in it.’ She was game and she was up for that.

“In fact on the day when we were filming, she asked Danny Boyle if she could have a line because there wasn’t a line in the script, probably because when I was typing the script I didn’t quite know how you would type the character of the Queen, what would you type.”

Platinum Jubilee
The crowd watching a film of Queen Elizabeth II having tea with Paddington Bear on a big screen during the Platinum Party at the Palace (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Queen has also appeared in a surprise comic sketch with Paddington Bear, as part of the celebrations earlier this year honouring her 70-year reign.

The monarch and the bear met for a chaotic cream tea at Buckingham Palace in a secretly pre-recorded sequence played at the start of the televised BBC Platinum Party at the Palace event.

The duffle coat-wearing bear from Michael Bond’s books told the Queen how he made sure he always had his favourite treat on him, lifting up his red hat to reveal a marmalade sandwich.

The Queen delighted him by saying she shared his love of the snack, as she opened her handbag to reveal a stash.

Goodbye Christopher Robin Premiere – London
Frank Cottrell-Boyce (Ian West/PA)

He said: “That’s real acting that you’re watching there. Paddington isn’t really in the room.

“She’s acting with someone pretending to be Paddington with false eye-lines and she’s got lots and lots of lines and there’s a real joy there.

“I think two things to be said about it, the joy is really important. It is a fun thing, Paddington, but it’s not trite.

“Paddington stands for a set of values that she stood for as well, for welcoming the stranger, for decency, for politeness in an age that had become very shouty, these were not uncontested values, they are values that she had inhabited and expressed for her whole reign.”

Following the death of the Queen, King Charles’ Accession Council will be held on Saturday at 10am in St James’s Palace.

It will be televised for the first time in history, showing the King being formally proclaimed monarch and Charles making his declaration and oath.

Speaking about the new monarch, Cottrell-Boyce added: “I think the eccentricity and the ability to endure and be wry, that is all there.

“My cousin said to me our parents had been through four monarchs by the time they were in their 20s, and we have only known one.

“It is about character. If we’ve learnt anything through the pandemic and the big changes in the last few years, it’s that character matters as much as policy, who you are and the effect you have and I think that’s the unenviable thing that King Charles is going to face. How to embody that.”