Film premiere opens a new world of Spice

The Spice Girls were on typically ebullient form last night as they arrived in London for the world premiere of their film Spiceworld.

Sporting identical pinstripe suits they met Prince Charles and Princes William and Harry before the screening.

Prince Harry, 13, has met the group before in South Africa, but for Prince William, 15, it was a first.

Each took several friends to the premiere, arriving in a mini-bus at the Empire, Leicester Square. Their five-minute meeting with the group took place behind closed doors before they went in to the film.

Afterwards, when asked how the princes were, Mel C said: "Their usual selves with us."

Baby Spice Emma asked Prince Charles if he had bought the new single and looked shocked when he admitted he had not. He then turned to seven- year-old Olivia Till, daughter of Stewart Hill, president of Polygram International, who was presenting him with a posy and asked if she had bought the record.

Ginger Spice Geri immediately announced: "Charles is our new manager."

The fivesome laid on the film-star style when they arrived at the cinema, strolling over to the assembled crowd to lap up the adulations.

Several members of the cast also turned up for the premiere, including Bob Geldof with two of his daughters, Peaches and Pixie, and his girlfriend Jeanne Marine. In unusually talkative mode, Geldof said his nickname should be Paddy Spice and joked that his five-second cameo was central to the plot.

The star-studded cast also includes Stephen Fry, Roger Moore, Richard E Grant and Jools Holland.

Afterwards, the girls arrived at a party in their honour at the Waldorf Hotel brimming with enthusiasm. "It was fantastic," said Geri, while Victoria remarked: "It's strange to see yourself that high."

Even the film critic Barry Norman was tactful if not gushing in his praise. "If you are at all predisposed to like the Spice Girls, then I think you will certainly enjoy the film," he said on the BBC programme Film '97.

"But of course you may also be asking, 'Can any of them act?' Well, probably not, but in the end who cares?"