2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony: The Highlights

The Olympic rings light up the stadium during the Opening Ceremony on July 27, 2012. Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, 55, created a stunning series of visuals for the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony in London July 27.

One of the evening’s most memorable moments featured Queen Elizabeth II, 86, showing off her comedic chops in a pre-taped video with Daniel Craig, 44, as James Bond. In the clip, the duo left Buckingham Palace, climbed into a helicopter and parachuted into the Olympic Stadium. (Her Royal Highness and the actor used stunt doubles, of course.)

Queen Elizabeth
Performers dressed up as Queen Elizabeth II and James Bond parachute out of a helicopter above the Olympic Stadium. Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, 91, were then introduced in the stadium, and the national anthem was performed by the Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf and Hearing Children.

Later in the show, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, 46, read an excerpt from famed British author J.M. Barrie‘s Peter Pan. Soon after, famous villains from British literature — Alice in Wonderland‘s The Queen of Hearts, Peter Pan‘s Captain Hook, 101 Dalmatians‘ Cruella de Vil and Harry Potter‘s Lord Voldemort — were inflated, with some rising to be more than 40 feet tall.

Lord Voldermort
A general view is seen as artists perform as Lord Voldemort during the Opening Ceremony. Paul Gilham/Getty Image

Other highlights included Rowan Atkinson, 57, reprising his beloved role as Mr. Bean, zoning out while performing “Chariots of Fire” with the London Symphony Orchestra; international soccer superstar David Beckham, 37, arriving by boat to pass the Olympic torch to rower Steve Redgrave, 50, a six-time Olympic medalist; and the Arctic Monkeys performing their hit “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” and a cover of the Beatles‘ “Come Together.”

Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Atkinson in his role as Mr Bean takes part in the Opening Ceremony. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

After the parade of nations and the lighting of the Olympic cauldron, former Beatles member Paul McCartney, 70, closed the ceremony with emotional renditions of “The End” and “Hey Jude.”

Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney performs during the Opening Ceremony. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Notable attendees at the event included First Lady Michelle Obama, 48, Prince William and Kate Middleton, both 30, Prince Harry, 27, Prince Charles, 63, Camilla Parker Bowles, 65, and Queen Sofia of Spain, 73.

Tell Us: What was your favorite moment from the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony?

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