Acting royalty mingled with real-life royalty at a special film premiere in London Tuesday.
Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith got kisses on each cheek as they met Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, at the world premiere of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which opens March 6 in the U.S.
It’s a follow-up to the successful first movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, reuniting much of the cast and adding others like Richard Gere.
Garlands of pink, yellow and orange-tinted marigolds decorated arches as Bollywood was brought to the Odeon Theatre in London’s West End.
The decorations got approval from leading lady Dench, 80. “It’s wonderful – it should always be here,” she told PEOPLE.
“We didn’t expect there even to be a second film! It was delightful being in India four years ago for eight weeks and then suddenly there was a second one. None of us were asked one way or another – we just packed our bags and ran and wanted it!”
The royals were there to help promote the evening that was also benefiting the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. “I hope they enjoy it and have an evening off,” Dench said of the guests of honor.
Later, inside the theater, she and costar Smith, 80, were among the stars and filmmakers who met the royal couple and shared stories.
Amid the noise of Indian pop and dance music, director John Madden praised the two women at the top of his film. “They’re the twin pillars of the British acting establishment, equally magnetizing and each with the gift of being able to connect with the audience,” he told PEOPLE. “They’re great friends in life and share very similar sense of humor.”
Costar Tina Desai, 27, agreed. “I found out how naughty they were. They were playing pranks on each other, they were involving the Indian make-up team in their pranks,” she told PEOPLE.
“They were chatting in the corner about naughty jokes. I didn’t expect that from them at all but I think we’d all got more comfortable. We knew each other well enough.”