'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.”