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11 September 2020 22:36

And so she did – insofar as any woman could in a 1960s Bond film, at least.

george lazenby

It has become something a tradition that before the release of every James Bond film, we'll be told that the new Bond girl will be unlike any we've seen before. It has been true maybe twice – and for the historic first occasion, we have the late Diana Rigg to thank. It was in On Her Majesty's Secret Service that Rigg, who died yesterday aged 82, gave us the Contessa di Vicenzo – aka Teresa Draco, aka (eventually) plain old Tracy Bond. She was the first and as yet only woman to have (legitimately) married 007 on screen, and the first until the great Vesper Lynd, played by Eva Green, to have left him utterly bereft by the time the end credits rolled. A Bond wedding would count as a code red spoiler these days, but back in the OHMSS era, Eon Productions happily blew the surprise by using it as the backdrop for their film's international press day almost eight entire months before the premiere, with Rigg and George Lazenby greeting reporters in their nuptial attire at the Hotel Palácio on the Portuguese Riviera.

How Diana Rigg tamed Bond – both on-screen and off

(The two stars even posed together for photographs while cutting the cake.) Much was made of the fact that Tracy's wedding "dress" was actually a pantsuit: a floral-patterned white lace number designed by Marjory Cornelius. The message was clear: after years of bikinis, this one would be wearing the trousers. And so she did – insofar as any woman could in a 1960s Bond film, at least. In a Playboy article published in 1967, Roald Dahl reminisced amusingly about the advice he was given by producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli after being conscripted by Eon to write the screenplay for You Only Live Twice, the Bond franchise entry that directly preceded Ms Rigg's.