A Service of Thanksgiving

 for the life of

Desmond Llewelyn

1914 – 1999

desmond llewelyn picture desmond llewelyn photo

         St. Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge

st. pauls church knightsbridge london

press photographers

st. pauls church knightsbridge london

This is the same church where Ian Fleming's parents were married in 1906

Monday 27th March 2000 at 2.00 pm

I arrived at the church shortly after lunchtime, after dodging the showers and a hailstorm. Making my way towards a small group of familiar faces, I joined up with some James Bond fans that, like myself, wished to pay our last respects for a dearly missed member of the Bond family. Several Policemen were erecting barriers in preparation for the expected crowds; the mood was quite and respectful, but not downbeat, we were pleased to be present.

During the next hour, after a few more short downpours, the press arrived and set their stall opposite the fans and other onlookers. A couple of television crews arrived and joined the press. You can always tell a press photographer, he (very rarely she) often come complete with a small stepladder, a large aluminium case full of equipment, an assistant to carry it all from the nearby car, and two large cameras with flashguns hung round their neck.

     Family and friends then started to arrive, some by car, others by foot. They flashed their tickets at the police and marched into the church. I spotted David Arnold, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, then Samantha Bond appeared and stopped to sign autographs for the fans and then turned to have her picture taken from the wall of photographers. Some of the guests, who wanted to avoid the press on such an emotional occasion for them, entered the church through the side entrance. Amongst them were Dana and Barbara Broccoli.

david arnold picture samantha bond picture peter lamont picture
* David Arnold * * Samantha Bond * * Peter Lamont *

Click on the pictures marked *  * for a larger image

Through the arched main entrance came Peter Lamont, and then a car drew up and Roger Moore alighted and helped his partner Christina Tholstrup into the limelight. The press photographers shouted for Roger to look over here, no here, the fans clamoured for his autograph and their own personal picture of the only James Bond actor to be present. Good natured as ever, he slowly made his way towards the church entrance, chatting to the television crews and fans alike, and disappeared inside.

roger moore picture sir roger moore picture roger moore and christina tholstrop roger moore image
Roger Moore and Christina Tholstrop arrive at the church


 Shirley Eaton appeared, gladly signing the fans autograph books and posing for the press. Christopher Lee arrived, stopping only briefly for a few photos, saying he would sign autographs later (he did, for nearly 30 minutes). Then a few celebrities appeared, including Simon Williams, Suzanne Dando and Lisa Stansfield, followed by veteran Bond director Lewis Gilbert.

shirley eaton picture christopher lee picture samantha bond picture lewis gilbert picture simon williams picture
* Shirley Eaton * Christopher Lee Samantha Bond Lewis Gilbert Simon Williams


As the church bells struck two, I made my own way inside, pausing to pick up an Order of Service. I found myself an empty pew and quietly took my place in the beautifully decorated church. The Bidding Prayer was being read by The Reverend Ben Whitworth, and we then joined in the Lord’s Prayer, followed by a hymn. As we sat, Samantha Bond walked toward the lectern and read ‘Peace’ by Henry Vaughan and ‘Crossing the Bar’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Samantha was then replaced by John Parkinson from EON, who gave an address. He talked with fondness about Desmond, of how he joined them in 1963 for ‘From Russia With Love’ and soon became part of the family. He told how Desmond was such a wonderful ambassador for EON productions, always willing and able to help promote the films that became such an important part of his life.

A hymn was followed by ‘Sospan Fach’ and ‘Ar Hyd y Nos’, sung by The Male Voice Choir of The Lucknow Band of the Prince of Wales’s Division, resplendent in their red uniforms.

Then Roger Moore talked about his time on the Bond films with Desmond, how he used to get one of the script girl's to re-write Desmond’s ‘Q’ scenes with pages of new gobbledygook, and the look on his face as he thought he would have to relearn all his lines. He said he couldn’t imagine a Bond film without Desmond in it.

An Anthem followed, ‘How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings Fair’ (Johannes Brahms) and then a hymn before Desmond’s proud son’s, Justin and Ivor, gave their address. Justin said how the family was astounded by the amount of messages on the Internet and the letters they had received, and were very grateful for them all. He spoke warmly and with humour about his father, about how he was hopeless with gadgets at home, driving a video rental man to distraction in trying to explain how simple it was to operate. He recalled how Desmond had enjoyed the final year of his life, traveling around the country, signing copies of his biography. When anyone asked if ‘The World Is Not Enough’ would be his final appearance as ‘Q’, he would say, “I’ll play ‘Q’ as long as the producers want me, and the Lord Almighty doesn’t”. Justin said, “Sadly, the Almighty won out. I just hope he doesn’t want anything repaired!”

Ivor spoke about his father’s home life, his long and loving marriage to his wife of 61 years, Pamela, sadly stricken with Alzheimer’s, and his love for his grandchildren.

Video screens had been discreetly placed about the congregation, and they now came to life with images of the life of Desmond Llewelyn, from childhood, through his time in the army and then the theatre, his first appearance as ‘Q’. Final pictures with his family and friends around him, all played along to the incredibly moving ‘We Have All The Time In The World’ by Louis Armstrong. More than a few tears were shed.

A reading by Brian Duggan was followed by prayers read by the Reverend Neil Dawson and a final hymn. The Blessing, then ‘Sevenfold Amen’ sung by the choir, and we filed out of the church to ‘St. Anne Fugue’ by J.S.Bach.

christopher lee picture sir roger moore picture roger moore still christopher lee photo
* Christopher Lee * * Roger Moore * * Christopher Lee *


A large figure blocked my exit from the church. Christopher Lee. I edged past him as the flash of the photographers camera’s alerted me to the fact that Roger Moore had left before me, so I snuck out the side and joined the press, who had abandoned their stepladders for a more direct approach. Shirley Eaton also had her admirers, the press and fans alike. Christopher Lee was still up at the entrance to the church, surrounded by fans, and being interviewed by a television crew. He was seemingly trapped there for nearly half an hour before I was finally able to capture a picture or two as he left.

It was past 4pm before we retired to a nearby café to discuss that afternoon’s events.

A moving day, I felt honoured that I had been present on such an occasion, tinged with regret for the reason that it happened. The man who could always be relied upon to be present at such an event was missing from this one, and we were all the poorer for it.

God Bless You, Desmond

ã 2000 David Williams

roger moore photo shirley eaton picture lewis gilbert photo shirley eaton photo roger moore photo
Roger Moore Shirley Eaton * Lewis Gilbert * * Shirley Eaton * * Roger Moore *

Click on the pictures marked *  * for a larger image

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