One person rather anxious about whether the Queen’s show-stopping acting debut in the opening ceremony would go down a storm with the British public was the head of state herself.
That much can be gleaned from Boris Johnson’s account of a conversation the London mayor had with “The Actress” the morning after the world saw her play herself opposite Daniel Craig’s James Bond in a film sequence for the ceremony.
While most of the world was still coming to terms with what they had just witnessed the night before, the mayor was accompanying her on a tour of the Arcelor Mittal Orbit at the Olympic Park.
“As an actress,” said Mr Johnson, revelling in the retelling of his royal encounter, “she was keen to know how her performance had been received.
“I hope I wasn’t being obsequious when I told her it was very funny.”
The mayor, clutching a bottle of beer as he strode away from the Mall at the end of Britain’s abject failure in the men’s cycling road race, said: “She was very reassured by that. It was a global hit.
“What she said was that provided people thought it was very funny, she was happy.”
Quite how the organisers persuaded the Queen to dispense with centuries of royal protocol to help out with Danny Boyle’s quirky portrait of Britain is still unclear.
Lord Coe was not inclined to spill the beans, the London organising committee chairman denying that he had personally proposed the idea to the Queen.
However it happened, the London mayor was in a mood of scarcely-controllable glee. He brushed off criticism from a Conservative MP of the opening ceremony’s tribute to such institutions as the NHS and the Jarrow marchers, and was his usual effusive self about Mr Boyle.
“I was blubbing like a baby,” the mayor said. “What was so good about it was that it was genuinely true about Britain. It wasn’t some synthesised Brito-pap.”
Boris and The Queen – now that’s a post-Olympics project to wet the lips of any film-maker.