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Wednesday June 20th 2018

On Her Majesty's Secret Service | 1969

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: Blofeld’s mountaintop lair: the summit of Schilthorn, Switzerland | Photograph: Piz Gloria

The glamorous locations for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are around Switzerland and Portugal. There's bit more story this time around, and a bit more length, too, but a bit less Bond. Since this is the only appearance in the series of the chiselled woodenness of TV adman George Lazenby, that's not a particularly bad thing.

The opening sequence, of Bond rescuing Tracy Di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) from the sea, was shot on on Praia Grande do Guincho (Guincho Beach), on the Atlantic west coast about 20 miles west of Lisbon, Portugal. Draco’s home, scene of the birthday party, is the Da Vinho Estate at the village of Zambujal, about 25 miles southeast of Lisbon, east of Setúbal.

Bond stays at the 1930 Palácio Estoril Hotel, Rua Do Parque, Estoril, on the A5 about 15 miles west of Lisbon, on the Portuguese Riviera. Portugal remained neutral during World War II, and several royal families went into exile in Estoril, which became known as the “Coast of Kings”. It seems fitting that 007 should stay here – the Palácio Estoril Hotel was supposedly also the haunt of British and German spies, who could often be found in its bar. 

In Switzerland, the office of solicitor Gumpold, where Bond demonstrates that exciting new invention the photocopier, is now the five-star Schweizerhof Hotel, Bahnhofplatz 11, Berne.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: Blofeld’s mountaintop lair: the revolving restaurant, Piz Gloria, Schilthorn, Switzerland | Photograph: Piz Gloria

But the most memorable location – and the one you’ll want to visit – is the mountaintop ‘allergy clinic’ of Blofeld (Telly Savalas) is a revolving restaurant – which was then under construction – atop the Schilthorn Mountain peak, above Murren, Switzerland. Permission to film there was granted on condition that the film company furnish the interior and build a helipad. They forked out to the then princely sum of £60,000.

The Piz Gloria restaurant is still thriving. Not only can you enjoy a James Bond breakfast buffet, but the Touristorama shows extracts from the film – you can even get married here. The Schilthorn summit is a half-hour cable car ride from the village of Stechelberg in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and gives glorious views of the Eiger, Monch, Jungfrau and many other dramatic Alpine peaks.

The stock-car rally was staged at Lauterbrunnen, two miles from Murren, and the skating rink is nearby Grindelwald.

In the UK, M’s house, ‘Quarterdeck’, was Thames Lawn, a riverfront mansion at the end of St Peter Street in Marlow, near the Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire. The house burned down in the 1990s and a new building has replaced it, but you can still see the gates, just as they were in 1969, alongside the Two Brewers pub (now renovated after itself being damaged in a disastrous fire in 2013).

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: Bond’s heraldry course: College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, London EC4

Bond researches heraldry in the College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street, EC4, in the City of London (the capital’s business and historic core) The handsome brick building, behind imposing black and gold gates, dates from the 1670s, though it was remodelled in the 1860s when Queen Victoria Street was laid out (which truncated the side wings). A uniquely British institution, the college is home to the heralds who grant and keep records of the coats of arms of the nobility – and the wannabe-nobility.

Where better for Bond to get a crash course in heraldry, in order to pass himself off as Sir Hilary Bray (George Baker, who’s voice Lazenby does an impressive job of imitating). Well, OK, it’s dubbed by Baker himself (who was, coincidentally, himself once in the frame to play Bond).

Bray reveals the Bond family motto, “Orbis non sufficit” (‘The world is not enough’), which proved such a handy title for the 19th Bond movie.

If you fancy having your own coat of arms, you’ll need to prove a pedigree showing direct male-line descent from an ancestor already entitled to arms. Or perhaps you could just apply for arms to be granted.

The College appears again, as the home of aristo James Fox, in in Guy Ritchie’s 2009 revamp of Sherlock Holmes.