`EYE AM A SCOTTISH PEASANT’

In the past few days, there have been reports from the British press that fictional spy James Bond (in the person of Daniel Craig, the current actor playing 007) will receive a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth as part of the opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics in London.

A humble Scottish peasant? Or a knight of the realm?


Here’s an excerpt from a story in THE TELEGRAPH (which rewrote an article in the Evening Standard):

Daniel Craig, the 007 actor, is reported to have received the ceremonial tap on the shoulder at Buckingham Palace in scenes to be screened during the opening ceremony at the Olympic Games.

The Queen is said to have gamely agreed to take part in the action and makes a cameo appearance in the film, which will be beamed around the world.

(snip)

Andrew Lycett, biographer of Bond author Ian Fleming, said a knighthood for the secret agent was long overdue.

“Bond did sterling work for Queen and country and deserves a gong,” he said.

Lycett probably read The Man With the Golden Gun, the last Fleming 007 novel, published in 1965 after the author’s death. Lycett delivered a good quote and it’s not surprising The Telegraph Evening Standard would use it.

Still, we’re reminded of the novel itself, where the literary Bond was offered a knighthood. He receives an “Eyes Only” cable from M. He dictates a response to Mary Goodnight:

EYE BEG YOU PRESENT MY HUMBLE DUTY TO HER MAJESTY AND REQUEST THAT EYE MAY BE PERMITTED COMMA IN ALL HUMILITY COMMA TO DECLINE THE SIGNAL FAVOUR HER MAJESTY IS GRACIOUS ENOUGH TO PROPOSE TO CONFER UPON HER HUMBLE AND OBEDIENT SERVANT…EYE AM A SCOTTISH PEASANT AND EYE WILL ALWAYS FEEL AT HOME BEING A SCOTTISH PEASANT…
(The Man With the Golden Gun, Chapter 17, “Endit”)

The Olympics, of course, is a worldwide sports and media show. It’s inconceivable that a 007 knighthood not be part of the opening ceremonies. Still, for those of us who’ve enjoyed the original Ian Fleming stories, there’s something comfortable with the notion of a British civil servant declining a knighthood.

UPDATE: Here’s a story in THE EVENING STANDARD that may have started this latest wave of publicity.

UPDATE II: One of Fleming’s nieces has Tweeted about how Bond turned down a knighthood in the novel. You can CLICK HERE to check it out.

UPDATE III: Just so we’re all clear, if the Evening Standard and the other publications that have picked up on the story are correct, it’s the *fictional character* of James Bond *as played by Daniel Craig* who will be knighted. And since Bond is a fictional character, it’s not really happening, it’s just part of a film for the Olympics’ opening ceremonies. We only mention it after seeing something on Facebook that may or may not be a joke but indicates someone thinks Craig is actually getting knighted.

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