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In one of the most popular parts of the Olympics Opening Ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II jumped out of a helicopter into the London stadium where the festivities were being held.
Friday’s jump was preceded by a taped segment in which James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) escorted the Queen (played by herself) out of Buckingham Palace by helicopter to Olympic Stadium. Once over the venue, the duo skydived out of the chopper, and then the queen was seen entering the stadium in the same dress alongside her husband, Prince Philip.
The U.K.’s Sky News revealed Saturday that the parachutist who doubled for the queen was Gary Connery, who in May became the first skydiver to make a successful jump without a parachute. (He jumped 2,400-foot from a helicopter using a specially made “wing suit” into a “runway” made of 18,600 cardboard boxes.)
In an interview with Sky News, Connery — who jumped in full dress and carrying a handbag — said the stunt took months to perfect. He performed several test jumps at various airfields and over the stadium. His jump Friday ended with his landing on a nearby bridge.
Connery told Sky News that the jump was “unsurpassable” and” absolutely stunning.” He added that he “thoroughly enjoyed dressing up as queenie.”
The Opening Ceremony also featured appearances by Kenneth Branagh, musician Mike Oldfield, author J.K. Rowling, comedian-actor Rowan Atkinson, Arctic Monkeys and Paul McCartney, among others.
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