Dame Patricia Routledge said the Prince of Wales shared his joy with her that she has finally been recognised for her work in the theatre as she was honoured at Buckingham Palace.
The Keeping Up Appearances actress, 88, was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire for her services to the theatre and charity and was honoured by Charles, who she said was "pleased" to see her receive the title.
Dame Patricia told the Press Association: "I'm still in a state of surprise and very thrilled, and very thrilled that the Prince of Wales is here today because he just loves actors and he our much-appreciated patron of the Actors' Benevolent Fund."
She said: "He said, 'at last somebody's noticed'. He said how pleased he was, and a little more."
Dame Patricia is known for her role as the hilariously snobbish Hyacinth Bucket in the hit BBC sitcom, but she has also had a prolific career in the theatre.
She won an Olivier Award for her role as the Old Lady in Leonard Bernstein's operetta Candide in 1988, and a Tony Award for her part as Alice Challice in Darling Of The Day in 1968, and has worked in a litany of productions across six decades.
She said she has no favoured role from her long career on the stage, adding: "I don't do beloved roles, I've just had a wonderfully interesting time with so many roles. So many interesting plays."
Dame Patricia said she will keep her medal safely stowed in a drawer, but she admitted she was going to show it off later in the day.
"I shall show it to people at lunch, obviously," she said, revealing that she is celebrating by hosting a lunch party for 20 people.