The 45-year-old actor told The Observer that he scored an invite from the groom. “Harry’s a friend of mine,” he said, jokingly adding that he knows him “just from round the way, haha! He’s a neighborhood lad!”
While the Golden Globe winner — attended the royal wedding with his fiancée Sabrina Dhowre and got behind the DJ booth at the evening reception to show off his spinning skills for the crowd gathered at Frogmore House — wasn’t spilling any secrets of the big day, he shared that it was a special experience.
“I try not to talk too much about it, because it was a private day, but it remains one of the highlights of my life, for sure,” he explained.
He added, “It was a beautiful experience, like all weddings are.”
Elba has a special connection to the royal family: The Prince’s Trust, a charity started by Harry’s father Prince Charles in 1976, establishes grants for young people who are facing economic hardships. Elba was one of the more than 825,000 to be helped and positively affected by the organization.
“I left school at 16 with dreams of attending the National Youth Music Theatre but was disheartened when I realised how much it would cost,” Elba, who became a Prince’s Trust ambassador, wrote for the Mirror in 2013. “It was The Prince’s Trust who made it possible. They gave me a £1,500 grant and set me on the path that would eventually change my life.”
- Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
In addition to hanging out with Harry at events like the 2013 Audi Polo Challenge, Elba raved about Meghan during One Million Young Dinner at Buckingham Palace in December.
“Meghan Markle, as a person, regardless of her color, is a role model,” he told Sky News. “As a strong woman marrying into our royal family, she’s going to be a role model for any woman.”
“The point is that of course our society is one of mixed heritage and it’s nice to see Meghan within the royal family,” he continued. “It’s great.”
The royal couple’s emotional ceremony at St. George’s Chapel was just the start of a day-long celebration that carried well into the night at Frogmore House.
Those lucky enough to score an invite — including a handful of A-list celebs such as George and Amal Clooney, Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian and several of Meghan’s former Suits stars — left the luncheon and got ready for the private reception at Frogmore House.
Guests hit the dance floor as the Atlantic Soul Orchestra played Motown hits including “My Girl” and Stevie Wonder tunes. As the night wore on, Elba amped up the celebration when they took over the DJ booth and started spinning electronic music, which quickly prompted the younger guests to get out on the dance floor.
The London-born actor, who is known for his role in the hit BBC crime drama Luther, is the recipient of an OBE for his services to drama. OBE stands for Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and is given to an individual for a major local role in any activity such as business, charity or the public sector by the Queen.