Monday, June 25, 2012

'Dashing' Scottish Aristocrat Who Inspired Character of Sir Hilary Bray In Ian Fleming's James Bond Thriller, 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Dies, Aged 87

The British newspaper the Telegraph reported on the death of the Scottish aristocrat that aided Ian Fleming in his research and became the model for a character in Fleming's thriller, On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

In real life he was the laird of the Hebridean island of Great Bernera and claimant to a principality in Dalmatia. In fiction, however, Mirrlees was Sir Hilary Bray, Bt, a genealogist with the College of Arms whose identity Bond assumes to trace the criminal mastermind Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

In 1960, when Fleming was researching the heraldic background for the book, Mirrlees was Rouge Dragon Pursuivant at the College. After agreeing to collaborate with Fleming, he was featured in the novel under the heraldic pseudonym Sable Basilisk. The association was commemorated in a privately produced book, Sable Basilisk, which contained notes and correspondence between Mirrlees and Fleming from their spell of joint research.

Mirrlees' influence on Fleming ran deep. Mirrlees claimed descent from an ancient Basque family, whose members were said to be born without earlobes. Fleming gave this unusual deformity to Blofeld. It was probably also Mirrlees who came up with the Bond family motto: "The World is Not Enough," later used as the title of a film in the 007 canon. 

You can read the rest of the story via the below link:

You can also watch the trailer to the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service via the below link:

Note: Count Robin de la Lanne-Mirrlees photo appears in the top. Ian Fleming appears in the middle photo and actor George Lazenby appears as James Bond disguised as Sir Hilary Bray in the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service in the bottom photo. 

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