'The Queen' Helen Mirren praises 'utterly gracious and elegant' Meghan Markle (Exclusive)

Helen Mirren is singing the praises of soon-to-be royal Meghan Markle.

“I think she's been utterly gracious and elegant,” the acting icon told ET at the 45th Chaplin Award Gala honoring her at Alice Tully Hall in New York City on Monday. “I don’t mean elegant in her clothes -- of course she's elegant there, too. But elegant as a person.”

Weighing in on the idea of an American coming into the British royal family, Mirren pointed out that many from across the pond have been a part of their history and that she’s “full of optimism” about Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry. “It will work wonderfully well,” she predicted.

However, don’t expect Mirren, 72, to be up in the early hours to watch the live nuptials go down.

“I like a wedding and weddings always make me cry, but it's not something I'm hugely committed to,” explained Mirren, who’s well versed in royalty, thanks to her role as Queen Elizabeth II in the 2006 movie The Queen. “I'll watch it on the news or something, but I certainly won't get up at four in the morning for it.”

Mirren was accompanied by her husband of 10 years, Taylor Hackford, at the event, where she received an award for her Oscar-winning work as an actress.

She wore a long, black gown with red-and-blue floral patterns and had her nails painted bright red to match.

“It's only just beginning to dawn on me quite honestly,” she said of the honor. “You go from day to day and I've been working and I haven't really been thinking too much about it and suddenly here, right now tonight, the penny is dropping.”

“I'm kind of amazed,” she added. “When I was a young girl dreaming of being an actress, I would never have imagined that this might be the other end of the road.”

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Helen Mirren out and about
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Actress Helen Mirren wearing a dress by fashion designer Valentino attends the screening of 'The Leisure Seeker' at AFI FEST 2017 Presented By Audi at the Egyptian Theatre on November 12, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tara Ziemba/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Helen Mirren arrives at the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' 9th Annual Governors Awards at The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center on November 11, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
COSTA MESA, CA - OCTOBER 30: Helen Mirren attends the Mariinsky Orchestra Concert in honor of Henry Segerstrom and the 50th anniversary of South Coast Plaza on October 30, 2017 in Costa Mesa, California. (Photo by David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Helen Mirren walks the runway during the Le Defile L'Oreal Paris show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018 at the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, France, on October 1, 2017. (Photo by Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 01: Helen Mirren walks the runway during the Le Defile L'Oreal Paris show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018 on October 1, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Helen Mirren attends 'In Conversation With...Helen Mirren' during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at Glenn Gould Studio at CBC on September 9, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Actress Helen Mirren attends Entertainment Weekly's Must List Party during the Toronto International Film Festival 2017 at the Thompson Hotel on September 9, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly)
VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 03: Helen Mirren attends the 'The Leisure Seeker' photocall during the 74th Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2017 in Venice, Italy. PHOTOGRAPH BY P. Lehman / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read P. Lehman / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 03: Helen Mirren walks the red carpet ahead of the 'The Leisure Seeker (Ella & John)' screening during the 74th Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande on September 3, 2017 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)
Actor Donald Sutherland and actress Helen Mirren attend the photocall of the movie 'The Leisure Seeker' (Ella and John) presented in competition at the 74th Venice Film Festival on September 3, 2017 at Venice Lido. / AFP PHOTO / Tiziana FABI (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - JUNE 21: Dame Helen Mirren attends the Cannes Lions Festival 2017 on June 21, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Christian Alminana/Getty Images for Cannes Lions)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - JUNE 20: Helen Mirren attends the 57th Monte Carlo TV Festival : Closing Ceremony on June 20, 2017 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - JUNE 20: British Actress Helen Mirren poses for a Photocall during the 57th Monte Carlo TV Festival : Day Five, on June 20, 2017 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 07: (L to R) Matt Smith and Dame Helen Mirren pose with cast member David Tennant at the West End production of 'Don Juan In Soho' at Wyndhams Theatre on June 7, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22: Dame Helen Mirren attends the The Stuttering Association For The Young (SAY) 15th Anniversary Gala at NYU Skirball Center on May 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 12: Helen Mirren attends the University Of Southern California 134th Commencement Ceremonies at The Shrine Auditorium on May 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jerritt Clark/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 05: Actress Helen Mirren, star of the new CBS Films' 'Winchester', poses at 'Winchester' Mystery House on May 5, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage)
Actress Helen Mirren attends day two of the Colcoa French Film Festival on April 25, 2017, in Los Angeles, California. / AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
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