By Stephen M. Silverman And Laura Schreffler
November 17, 2003 05:59 PM

Prince Charles took a break from the usual tabloid frenzy Monday as he joined Russell Crowe for the London premiere of the star’s salty sea adventure, “Master and Commander,” reports PEOPLE.

Crowe, 39, who arrived at the theater with his wife, Danielle Spencer (who is pregnant and looked stunning in a discreet black Prada sheath), said, “The thing I am looking forward to the most is seeing what the average man on the street thinks of this movie.”

Crowe, who plays burly British naval captain Jack Aubrey in the movie, then introduced Charles to the cast, which included Paul Bettany and “Lord of the Rings” star Billy Boyd. He also met the film’s director, Peter Weir.

Charles, 55, who is a vice admiral in the Royal Navy (well, his mother sort of runs the ships), reportedly chatted animatedly with Crowe and the other cast members, and was also presented with a souvenir brochure from 13-year-old schoolboy Max Pirkis, who stars in the film as Lord Blakeney.

At the premiere party, trapeze artists flitted between two mockups of British and French ships. The reaction of those who saw the movie was no less impressive. “It is wonderful to see that it is 2003 and that we can still make an epic,” said guest Trudie Styler, adding: “(Russell) has done it with ‘Gladiator’ and he has done it again tonight. Hats off to him.”

Styler’s husband, Sting, who arrived late having just returned from Amsterdam, claimed to have neitherread the book nor seen the movie, but offered an impromptu lesson nonetheless, noting that the French ship in the film was really an American one. “I know about history,” he said.