Q: How did Queen Elizabeth upstage David Beckham, Kenneth Branagh, Roger Bannister, J. K. Rowling, Rowan Atkinson, Paul McCartney, and roughly 14,000 Olympic athletes, to provide the most memorable moment of the 30th Olympiad’s Opening Ceremonies?
A: She took a play from her great-great-grandmother’s playbook, and gave it a high-tech twist.
Victoria set the standard for the successful royal appearance. During her Jubilee processions, her tours throughout the United Kingdom—and in her carriage rides following every assassination attempt but one—Victoria made every effort to be seen by all, and to establish a sense of personal connection with each individual spectator. Elizabeth did just that on her virtual procession by helicopter and parachute last Friday evening from Buckingham Palace to the Olympic Stadium. With the help of the Corgis and Daniel Craig as James Bond, and with a nod and a wink, she played to the hundreds of millions, and left all with that sense of personal connection: we were all in on the joke, which both made light of and affirmed Elizabeth’s role as an indispensible British icon. Well done!
I’m left with two questions.
What could Elizabeth possibly do to top this?
And what magic could Queen Victoria have worked, had she chosen, with Sherlock Holmes and a hot-air balloon?