Earlier, the traffic in Ebury Street, central London, had ground to a halt, a small crowd of startled onlookers gathered and the press cameras had flashed for all they were worth.
A mellifluous voice rang out, enunciating every syllable with loving precision as Sir John Gielgud, at the age of 93, gave what could be his last public performance, unveiling the English Heritage blue plaque at Dame Edith's childhood home, which is now a doctor's surgery.
Sir John, wearing an oatmeal coloured linen suit was accompanied by Sir John Mills, 89, also wearing an oatmeal coloured linen suit. There is a dress code, it seems, for English acting legends.
Photograph: Kalpesh Lathigra