God save the queen. And get her a razor for her five o’clock shadow.
The stuntperson who was featured during that showstopping moment in Friday night’s Opening Ceremony when Queen Elizabeth jumped out of a helicopter with James Bond was a better actor than you ever knew. A closer look reveals it was a man dressed as the queen and pulling the cord on the parachute.
Gary Connery, above right, is a 42-year-old stuntperson who has appeared in British television shows and popular movies including the “Indiana Jones” series. He’s a jumping daredevil, having set the record for highest free jump and making close to 1,000 skydives in his career.
Connery was tasked with playing the queen during the ceremony, a role which included jumping out of the helicopter and landing precisely on a nearby bridge and, perhaps more dangerously, wearing a tiara and pearls.
As Britain prepares to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year on the throne, the sovereign’s popularity in the United States is at a 15-year high — 82% of Americans say they have a favorable opinion of the queen in a CNN/ORC poll released Friday.
That’s a 35-point jump from 1997, when her favorable rating stood at 47%. That was the year Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris. Many Americans and Brits were disappointed in the royal family’s handling of the death of the “people’s princess,” saying the queen didn’t sufficiently reflect her subjects’ sense of loss following the accident.
Since then, however, Queen Elizabeth’s favorable ratings have been on the rise, reaching 75% in 2002 and 80% in 2007.
“Americans love Queen Elizabeth and they think the royal family is a good thing for the people of England, but only one in eight would like to see royalty here in the United States,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
Prince Philip, the queen’s husband, is not as popular as his wife, though is still viewed favorably by 59% of Americans.