LONDON, (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth was awarded one of Britain’s most prestigious entertainment honours on Thursday for her support for the film and television industry.
Actor and director Kenneth Branagh presented the 86-year-old monarch with an honorary BAFTA award – Britain’s equivalent of Hollywood’s Oscars – for her patronage of many of the country’s entertainment organisations since coming to the throne in 1952.
The queen personally demonstrated her support for the film industry last year when she starred with actor Daniel Craig in a James Bond spoof as part of the opening ceremony for the London Olympic Games.
The short sequence, seen by a worldwide television audience, showed the queen meeting Craig at Buckingham Palace before leaving to board a helicopter.
After the scene’s transmission, the queen appeared to leap from a helicopter hovering over the event and parachute into the stadium – a role performed for her by a stunt artist.
The unexpected entrance had made the queen “the most memorable Bond girl yet”, said John Willis, chairman of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which made the award.
Presenting the award event at her Windsor Castle residence near London, Branagh said to laughter that there were more roles on offer if the queen was available.
“Several of my colleagues here tonight want you to know that should you wish to venture further into the world of British film, that they have a number of scripts with them this evening with some marvellous parts for you,” Branagh said.
The queen and her family are enjoying a surge of support in Britain, boosted by the wedding of her grandson Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011 and her own diamond jubilee celebrations last year.
The expected arrival of a baby for William and Kate in July is likely to further increase interest in the royals.