Home | Australia | Meghan Markle and the Queen arrive in Cheshire for joint engagement

Meghan Markle and the Queen arrive in Cheshire for joint engagement

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Meghan reveals her blossoming bond with the Queen as the two royals giggle their way through their first joint public engagement

  • Duchess of Sussex took the royal train with head of state for the first time yesterday evening
  • Pair have arrived at Runcorn Station in Cheshire after travelling from London
  • Today is designed to give new Duchess a masterclass in royal engagements 
  • Pair will meet a Syrian settlement group learning craft works and local theatre performers

The Duchess of Sussex showed her growing bond with the Queen today as the pair carried out their first official engagements together in Cheshire, just a month after her wedding. 

Meghan, 36, and the monarch, 92, seemed to be getting on famously, with Meghan giggling and whispering into the Queen’s ear while watching a children’s performance at the opening of a new bridge across the River Mersey in Widnes.

The royal visitors were seen smiling and chatting to each other and to dignitaries as they watched youngsters dance to a seven-minute medley of music that included Edgar’s March Pomp and Circumstance and The Beatles’ Can’t Buy Me Love.

Today is the opportunity for Meghan to receive a masterclass from the Queen in how to conduct royal engagements.

It was around ten months after her own nuptials before the Duchess of Cambridge undertook a similar day of events – and will no doubt be viewed as a sign of royal confidence in the former actress.

The Queen has been on the throne for 66 years and has conducted tens of thousands of public engagements, shaking hundreds of thousands of hands along the way.

Former Suits star Meghan couldn’t resist sporting another creation by her wedding designer Givenchy for the visit, and looked elegant in the cream fitted dress with a cape feature at the shoulders, nipped in at the waist with a black belt, carrying a simple black bag by the same designer.

And in another sign of her growing friendship with the Queen, Harry’s wife sported a pair of delicate pearl earrings, given to her by the monarch as a gift.  

Meanwhile, her Majesty was vibrant as ever in a lime green ensemble by Stewart Parvin and hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan.

The former actress enjoyed an inaugural overnight trip on the Royal Train with the Queen, ahead of her first day of engagements with the monarch, and arrived at Runcorn Station this morning after travelling up from London with the head of state on the distinctive burgundy-liveried locomotive. 

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The Queen, 92, showed how her bond with Meghan Markle, 36, has grown today as the pair laughed and chatted their way through a children's theatre performance in Cheshire 

The Queen, 92, showed how her bond with Meghan Markle, 36, has grown today as the pair laughed and chatted their way through a children's theatre performance in Cheshire 

The Queen, 92, showed how her bond with Meghan Markle, 36, has grown today as the pair laughed and chatted their way through a children’s theatre performance in Cheshire 

The Duchess of Sussex proved she's mastered the royal walkabout as she cooed over a baby and accepted a bunch of flowers from royal fans in Chester

The Duchess of Sussex proved she's mastered the royal walkabout as she cooed over a baby and accepted a bunch of flowers from royal fans in Chester

The Duchess of Sussex proved she’s mastered the royal walkabout as she cooed over a baby and accepted a bunch of flowers from royal fans in Chester

The Queen and the Duchess visited the Storyhouse library in Chester where they mingled with locals who use the wide variety of services on offer

The Queen and the Duchess visited the Storyhouse library in Chester where they mingled with locals who use the wide variety of services on offer

The Queen and the Duchess visited the Storyhouse library in Chester where they mingled with locals who use the wide variety of services on offer

The Queen and Meghan dropped in to see schoolchildren at the Storyhouse building in Chester, but at first the youngsters didn't seem to notice the visitors had arrived

The Queen and Meghan dropped in to see schoolchildren at the Storyhouse building in Chester, but at first the youngsters didn't seem to notice the visitors had arrived

The Queen and Meghan dropped in to see schoolchildren at the Storyhouse building in Chester, but at first the youngsters didn’t seem to notice the visitors had arrived

Getting on famously! The Queen and the Duchess of Sussex shared a joke this morning as they watched a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge during their first official engagement together 

Getting on famously! The Queen and the Duchess of Sussex shared a joke this morning as they watched a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge during their first official engagement together 

Getting on famously! The Queen and the Duchess of Sussex shared a joke this morning as they watched a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge during their first official engagement together 

Join the royal fold in a chic cape dress like the Duchess of Sussex in Givenchy

What does one wear for a joint engagement with the Queen?

It’s not a dilemma the rest of us face on a daily basis, but it’s a decision the new Duchess of Sussex had to make ahead of her visit to Cheshire today!

Following on from her Carolina Herrera look at Trooping the Colour last weekend, the newlywed got it spot on by choosing Givenchy, the designer label that was of course behind her bridal gown.

We love the elegant simplicity of the nude hue and pencil fit, but it’s the layered cape detail that takes this look to another level. When teamed with a black belt, clutch bag and court heels by Sarah Flint, she perfectly complements the Queen in lime green Stewart Parvin.

It’s a custom made design so isn’t available, but click (right) to buy something similar.

Or check out the Meghan-inspired styles we’ve found by Royal-approved brands such as The Fold and Suzannah.

* PRICES MAY NOT BE AS ADVERTISED



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Growing confidence! Meghan seemed completely at ease as she chatted with the monarch

Growing confidence! Meghan seemed completely at ease as she chatted with the monarch

Growing confidence! Meghan seemed completely at ease as she chatted with the monarch

Her royal debut! The Duchess of Sussex looked animated as she chatted during her first official engagement with the Queen

Her royal debut! The Duchess of Sussex looked animated as she chatted during her first official engagement with the Queen

Her royal debut! The Duchess of Sussex looked animated as she chatted during her first official engagement with the Queen

The pair shared a joke during the opening ceremony, showing how a bond is clearly developing between the two women

The pair shared a joke during the opening ceremony, showing how a bond is clearly developing between the two women

The pair shared a joke during the opening ceremony, showing how a bond is clearly developing between the two women

Mirthful monarch! The Queen seemed in great spirits as she enjoyed her day out with Harry's new wife Meghan

Mirthful monarch! The Queen seemed in great spirits as she enjoyed her day out with Harry's new wife Meghan

Mirthful monarch! The Queen seemed in great spirits as she enjoyed her day out with Harry’s new wife Meghan

The Duchess flashed her stunning engagement band as she shared a joke with the Queen during their first joint engagement 

The Duchess flashed her stunning engagement band as she shared a joke with the Queen during their first joint engagement 

The Duchess flashed her stunning engagement band as she shared a joke with the Queen during their first joint engagement 

The pair showed their lighthearted bond as they laughed together during an opening ceremony for the new Mersey Gateway Bridge

The pair showed their lighthearted bond as they laughed together during an opening ceremony for the new Mersey Gateway Bridge

Firm friends! The Queen looked in great spirits as she began her day out with Harry’s new wife and the pair showed their lighthearted bond as they laughed together during an opening ceremony for the new Mersey Gateway Bridge

After spending the evening together as they travelled north on the Royal Train, Meghan and the monarch seemed to be getting on famously 

After spending the evening together as they travelled north on the Royal Train, Meghan and the monarch seemed to be getting on famously 

After spending the evening together as they travelled north on the Royal Train, Meghan and the monarch seemed to be getting on famously 

Meghan seemed completely at ease with the monarch and was seen giggling and whispering in her ear during the performance 

Meghan seemed completely at ease with the monarch and was seen giggling and whispering in her ear during the performance 

Meghan seemed completely at ease with the monarch and was seen giggling and whispering in her ear during the performance 

Her Majesty looked tickled by a performance by local schoolchildren celebrating 1,000 years of history of river crossings

Her Majesty looked tickled by a performance by local schoolchildren celebrating 1,000 years of history of river crossings

Her Majesty looked tickled by a performance by local schoolchildren celebrating 1,000 years of history of river crossings

The Queen and Meghan were all smiles as they left Chester Town Hall

The Queen and Meghan were all smiles as they left Chester Town Hall

Both women were carrying pretty bouquets of flowers

Both women were carrying pretty bouquets of flowers

The Queen and Meghan were all smiles as they left Chester Town Hall, with both women carrying pretty bouquets of flowers 

A royal pro already! The Duchess of Sussex meets the crowds during a walk about in Chester

A royal pro already! The Duchess of Sussex meets the crowds during a walk about in Chester

A royal pro already! The Duchess of Sussex meets the crowds during a walk about in Chester

In another nod to her growing friendship with the Queen, the Duchess wore a pair of delicate pearl earrings given to her by the monarch as a gift

In another nod to her growing friendship with the Queen, the Duchess wore a pair of delicate pearl earrings given to her by the monarch as a gift

Meghan in the audience at Storyhouse Chester,

Meghan in the audience at Storyhouse Chester,

In another nod to her growing friendship with the Queen, the Duchess wore a pair of delicate pearl earrings given to her by the monarch as a gift 

ARRIVAL IN CHESHIRE

The Queen and Meghan arrived in Runcorn by train this morning, and as they disembarkedthey were greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs, who told the Duchess: ‘I understand it is your first trip to the north of England.’

She replied: ‘That’s correct. I’m very happy to be here.’

Her nerves, and lack of experience in the minutiae of royal protocol, were in evidence as they prepared to get into the Queen’s Bentley awaiting them in the station car park.

There was a moment of confusion as the Duchess appeared unsure who should get into the car first. ‘What is your preference?’ she asked the Queen.

‘You go first,’ said the Queen. ‘Oh OK,’ said the duchess. 

Pleased to meet you Ma'am! The royal party received a warm welcome at Runcorn station after travelling overnight by train

Pleased to meet you Ma'am! The royal party received a warm welcome at Runcorn station after travelling overnight by train

The Queen made sure she stood out in a lime green ensemble, while Meghan kept things simple in cream

The Queen made sure she stood out in a lime green ensemble, while Meghan kept things simple in cream

Pleased to meet you Ma’am! The royal party received a warm welcome at Runcorn station after travelling overnight by train. The Queen made sure she stood out in a lime green ensemble, while Meghan kept things simple in cream 

The royal visitors walked from the station to their waiting car to make their way to the nearby Mersey Gateway Bridge

The royal visitors walked from the station to their waiting car to make their way to the nearby Mersey Gateway Bridge

The royal visitors walked from the station to their waiting car to make their way to the nearby Mersey Gateway Bridge

First stop on the agenda was a visit to the Mersey Gateway Bridge to conduct the official opening

First stop on the agenda was a visit to the Mersey Gateway Bridge to conduct the official opening

Meghan seemed to be having a little difficulty keeping her long hair under control on a breezy morning

Meghan seemed to be having a little difficulty keeping her long hair under control on a breezy morning

First stop on the agenda was a visit to the Mersey Gateway Bridge to conduct the official opening. Meghan seemed to be having a little difficulty keeping her long hair under control on a breezy morning 

The Duchess of Sussex looked thrilled to be visiting Runcorn for the first time, for her first official day of engagements with the Queen 

The Duchess of Sussex looked thrilled to be visiting Runcorn for the first time, for her first official day of engagements with the Queen 

The Duchess of Sussex looked thrilled to be visiting Runcorn for the first time, for her first official day of engagements with the Queen 

Meghan Duchess of Sussex arrives for the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in Cheshire

Meghan Duchess of Sussex arrives for the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in Cheshire

Meghan Duchess of Sussex arrives for the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in Cheshire

The Queen invited Harry's new bride to join her for a day of engagements, in order to help her learn the ropes of royal life 

The Queen invited Harry's new bride to join her for a day of engagements, in order to help her learn the ropes of royal life 

The Queen invited Harry’s new bride to join her for a day of engagements, in order to help her learn the ropes of royal life 

Meghan kept her look simple in a cream Givenchy dress and carried a simple black clutch bag 

Meghan kept her look simple in a cream Givenchy dress and carried a simple black clutch bag 

Meghan kept her look simple in a cream Givenchy dress and carried a simple black clutch bag 

The Duchess of Sussex looked chic in a cream dress by Givenchy, the same designer who created her breathtaking wedding dress

The Duchess of Sussex looked chic in a cream dress by Givenchy, the same designer who created her breathtaking wedding dress

She accessorised with a simple black belt at the waist and carried a simple black bag that doubles as a clutch

She accessorised with a simple black belt at the waist and carried a simple black bag that doubles as a clutch

The Duchess of Sussex looked chic in a cream dress by Givenchy, the same designer who created her breathtaking wedding dress. She accessorised with a simple black belt at the waist and carried a simple black bag that doubles as a clutch

Perfecting her royal wave! Meghan looked confident and at ease during her first engagement with the Queen

Perfecting her royal wave! Meghan looked confident and at ease during her first engagement with the Queen

Meghan appeared to be having a little trouble keeping her long hair under control in the wind

Meghan appeared to be having a little trouble keeping her long hair under control in the wind

Perfecting her royal wave! Meghan looked confident and at ease during her first engagement with the Queen, but appeared to be having a little trouble keeping her long hair under control in the wind

Meghan appeared to be struggling with her hair on a breezy morning in Cheshire after she opted to wear it down 

Meghan appeared to be struggling with her hair on a breezy morning in Cheshire after she opted to wear it down 

Meghan appeared to be struggling with her hair on a breezy morning in Cheshire after she opted to wear it down 

The royal visitors were treated to a seven-minute medley of music that included Edgar's March Pomp and Circumstance and The Beatles' Can't Buy Me Love

The royal visitors were treated to a seven-minute medley of music that included Edgar's March Pomp and Circumstance and The Beatles' Can't Buy Me Love

The royal visitors were treated to a seven-minute medley of music that included Edgar’s March Pomp and Circumstance and The Beatles’ Can’t Buy Me Love

MERSEY GATEWAY BRIDGE

Their first stop was the new £1.86 billion Mersey Gateway Bridge where the royal visitors chatted to Halton Council officials, architects and engineers and others involved in the 25-year project to create the new toll bridge across the Mersey between Widnes and Runcorn.

‘It’s a magnificent bridge,’ Meghan told them before joining the Queen on a stage to watch a dance performance by local schoolchildren celebrating 1,000 years of crossings across the river.

A royal day out! Meghan is spending the day learning the ropes from the Queen during their first official joint engagement 

A royal day out! Meghan is spending the day learning the ropes from the Queen during their first official joint engagement 

A royal day out! Meghan is spending the day learning the ropes from the Queen during their first official joint engagement 

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Sussex receive flowers from local schoolchildren following their visit to the Storyhouse Chester

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Sussex receive flowers from local schoolchildren following their visit to the Storyhouse Chester

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Sussex receive flowers from local schoolchildren following their visit to the Storyhouse Chester

The Queen and Meghan were treated to a theatre performance by local youngsters at the Storyhouse Centre

The Queen and Meghan were treated to a theatre performance by local youngsters at the Storyhouse Centre

The Queen and Meghan were treated to a theatre performance by local youngsters at the Storyhouse Centre

The Queen and Meghan were both presented with beautiful bouquets as they left the Storyhouse centre

The Queen and Meghan were both presented with beautiful bouquets as they left the Storyhouse centre

It's a significant day for the newlywed after being invited to join Her Majesty on duty less than a month after her wedding to Harry

It's a significant day for the newlywed after being invited to join Her Majesty on duty less than a month after her wedding to Harry

The Queen and Meghan were both presented with beautiful bouquets as they left the Storyhouse centre. It’s a significant day for the newlywed after being invited to join Her Majesty on duty less than a month after her wedding to Harry 

Bonding time! The Queen and Meghan enjoyed a fun conversation as they wathced a theatre performance by local children in Widnes, Cheshire 

Bonding time! The Queen and Meghan enjoyed a fun conversation as they wathced a theatre performance by local children in Widnes, Cheshire 

Bonding time! The Queen and Meghan enjoyed a fun conversation as they wathced a theatre performance by local children in Widnes, Cheshire 

‘The Duchess was absolutely interested in the dance performance and in the history of the various bridges that have crossed the river,’ said David Parr, Halton Council’s chief executive.

Before they left, the Queen and Meghan accepted posies from two schoolgirls, Savannah Cafferty, 11, and Alarni Wain, who was celebrating her eighth birthday.

‘They both wished me happy birthday,’ said an excited Alarni. Savannah, smiling afterwards, said: ‘I never thought I’d get the chance to meet the Duchess.’

The Queen and her new granddaughter-in-law during a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway

The Queen and her new granddaughter-in-law during a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway

Despite being a relatively new member of the family, Meghan and the Queen already seem to be building a friendly bond

Despite being a relatively new member of the family, Meghan and the Queen already seem to be building a friendly bond

The Queen and her new granddaughter-in-law during a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway. Despite being a relatively new member of the family, Meghan and the Queen already seem to be building a friendly bond 

Meghan and the Queen paid a visit the the Storyhouse theatre in Chester during their day of engagements 

Meghan and the Queen paid a visit the the Storyhouse theatre in Chester during their day of engagements 

Meghan and the Queen paid a visit the the Storyhouse theatre in Chester during their day of engagements 

Both the Duchess and the Queen were presented with bouquets of flowers by local schoolchildren before opening the Mersey Gateway Bridge

Both the Duchess and the Queen were presented with bouquets of flowers by local schoolchildren before opening the Mersey Gateway Bridge

Both the Duchess and the Queen were presented with bouquets of flowers by local schoolchildren before opening the Mersey Gateway Bridge

The Queen and Meghan have met before but today is the first time they've conducted a joint engagement together 

The Queen and Meghan have met before but today is the first time they've conducted a joint engagement together 

The Queen and Meghan have met before but today is the first time they’ve conducted a joint engagement together 

The Queen and Meghan both praised the children’s dance performance, in the grounds of a science museum half a mile from the bridge, when they spoke to Andrew Curphey, whose theatre company had brought 80 children aged 5-18 from nine local schools together to create their show, entitled Bringing Communities Together.

‘It’s been a massive treat, a massive buzz for us all,’ Mr Curphey, 32, said. ‘They both wanted to talk. The Queen said she really enjoyed it but the best hit was just before they left with Meghan.

She turned back and said to me: ‘The children did great by the way.’ Mr Curphey said of Meghan.

‘She was really calm considering it was her first official engagement with the boss. She is with the boss so no pressure.’

The Queen and her new granddaughter-in-law are set to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire

The Queen and her new granddaughter-in-law are set to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire

The Queen and her new granddaughter-in-law are set to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire

The new Duchess of Sussex and the Queen climbed into a waiting car to make their way to their first engagement of the day 

The new Duchess of Sussex and the Queen climbed into a waiting car to make their way to their first engagement of the day 

The new Duchess of Sussex and the Queen climbed into a waiting car to make their way to their first engagement of the day 

Her Majesty looked vibrant as ever in lime green, while Meghan kept it simple in a cream dress teamed with black heels 

Her Majesty looked vibrant as ever in lime green, while Meghan kept it simple in a cream dress teamed with black heels 

Her Majesty looked vibrant as ever in lime green, while Meghan kept it simple in a cream dress teamed with black heels 

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Sussex walk to their car after arriving by Royal Train at Runcorn Station to carry out engagements in Cheshire

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Sussex walk to their car after arriving by Royal Train at Runcorn Station to carry out engagements in Cheshire

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Sussex walk to their car after arriving by Royal Train at Runcorn Station to carry out engagements in Cheshire

The Queen and Meghan were shown around the library at Storhouse, which has proved a huge hit with visitors 

The Queen and Meghan were shown around the library at Storhouse, which has proved a huge hit with visitors 

The Queen and Meghan were shown around the library at Storhouse, which has proved a huge hit with visitors

Meghan flashed a warm smile as she chatted to a young boy who had presented her with a beauitufl bouquet of white flowers

Meghan flashed a warm smile as she chatted to a young boy who had presented her with a beauitufl bouquet of white flowers

Meghan flashed a warm smile as she chatted to a young boy who had presented her with a beauitufl bouquet of white flowers

A warm welcome! Meghan and the Queen were greeted by enthusiastic wellwishers on the Duchess' first trip to Cheshire

A warm welcome! Meghan and the Queen were greeted by enthusiastic wellwishers on the Duchess' first trip to Cheshire

Later they were treated to a performance by local schoolchildren at the Storyhouse theatre space

Later they were treated to a performance by local schoolchildren at the Storyhouse theatre space

A warm welcome! Meghan and the Queen were greeted by enthusiastic wellwishers on the Duchess’ first trip to Cheshire. Later they were treated to a performance by local schoolchildren at the Storyhouse theatre space

Her new right hand woman? The Queen seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the company of her new granddaughter-in-law who married Prince Harry last month 

Her new right hand woman? The Queen seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the company of her new granddaughter-in-law who married Prince Harry last month 

Her new right hand woman? The Queen seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the company of her new granddaughter-in-law who married Prince Harry last month 

Meghan and the Queen were all smiles as they arrived at Runcorn station this morning. 

Meghan also chatted to Phil Redmond, the creator of television dramas such as Brookside, Grange Hill, and Hollyoaks after he was introduced to the Duchess with his wife Alexis, the High Sheriff of Cheshire.

‘I wondered if she wanted a part in Hollyoaks,’ he said. ‘She will have to go through the audition process like everyone else.’ 

He was joking and admitted their conversation has been more about how nice it was to see the Duchess with the Queen. 

‘I didn’t (ask her) but there is a lunch to come,’ he said. ‘It’s a big day for Cheshire.’

MINUTE’S SILENCE

At 12pm, the royals observed a minute’s silence on the street outside the Storyhouse theatre to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower disaster, after arriving to tumultuous scene events of flag waving, cheering crowds.

Both women stood on the steps to the theatre, with their heads, bowed as a klaxon sounded.  

The Queen checked on the time before observing a minute's silence for the victims of the Grenfell tragedy, a year after 71 people were killed  

The Queen checked on the time before observing a minute's silence for the victims of the Grenfell tragedy, a year after 71 people were killed  

The Queen checked on the time before observing a minute’s silence for the victims of the Grenfell tragedy, a year after 71 people were killed  

Her Majesty's green outfit appeared to be a subtle tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy

Her Majesty's green outfit appeared to be a subtle tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy

At 12pm, the monarch and Meghan paused to observe a minute's silence for the 71 victims who died a year ago today

At 12pm, the monarch and Meghan paused to observe a minute's silence for the 71 victims who died a year ago today

Her Majesty’s green outfit appeared to be a subtle tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. At 12pm, the monarch and Meghan paused to observe a minute’s silence for the 71 victims who died a year ago today 

STORYHOUSE THEATRE

Meghan and the Queen visited the Storyhouse theatre complex in Chester, which features a library and performing arts spaces.

Inside they watched as a group of children from Ashgrove Farm day nursery took part in an enthusiastic rendition of The Wheels On The Bus.

The Queen smiled and pointed at little Shreyan, two, for whom the excitement had been too much. He had fallen asleep in one of the staff’s arms.

The Queen and Meghan arriving at the Storyhouse Centre in Chester where they will be taken on a tour of the building before unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening

The Queen and Meghan arriving at the Storyhouse Centre in Chester where they will be taken on a tour of the building before unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening

The Queen and Meghan arriving at the Storyhouse Centre in Chester where they will be taken on a tour of the building before unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening

Meghan, 36, and the Queen, 93, looked at ease in each other's company

Meghan, 36, and the Queen, 93, looked at ease in each other's company

Today marked the first time Meghan and the Queen have carried out a joint engagement

Today marked the first time Meghan and the Queen have carried out a joint engagement

Meghan, 36, and the Queen, 93, looked at ease in each other’s company despite it being the first time they have carried out a joint engagement

The Queen unveiled a plaque to officially open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in the town of Widnes in Halton, Cheshire

The Queen unveiled a plaque to officially open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in the town of Widnes in Halton, Cheshire

The Queen unveiled a plaque to officially open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge in the town of Widnes in Halton, Cheshire

Meghan looked thrilled to be spending the day with the Queen for their first official engagement just a month after her wedding to Harry

Meghan looked thrilled to be spending the day with the Queen for their first official engagement just a month after her wedding to Harry

Today provides the opportunity to learn the ropes from the monarch who has been on the throne for 66 years

Today provides the opportunity to learn the ropes from the monarch who has been on the throne for 66 years

Meghan looked thrilled to be spending the day with the Queen for their first official engagement just a month after her wedding to Harry. Today provides the opportunity to learn the ropes from the monarch who has been on the throne for 66 years 

The also met a group of Syrian refugees engaged in a craft project.   

On their way to their second performance of the day, the Queen and the duchess stopped off to speak to a group of ‘digital buddies’, a group of young volunteers helping elder members of the local community get to grips with technology in the library area.

Frank Samuel – a ‘reluctant over 50’ – told her he was keen to learn about computing as he didn’t want to get left behind.

‘Everything uses these things nowadays, ‘ he said to her, waving to his computer.

‘Yes even the bridge I was just at,’ laughed the Queen, referring to the toll bridge she had opened.

‘She had a bit of a giggle about that,’ said Mr Samuel.

The Duchess of Sussex received a very warm reception from wellwishers, including one who appeared to have printed a scene from her wedding day on to a canvas bag

The Duchess of Sussex received a very warm reception from wellwishers, including one who appeared to have printed a scene from her wedding day on to a canvas bag

The Duchess of Sussex received a very warm reception from wellwishers, including one who appeared to have printed a scene from her wedding day on to a canvas bag

As a former actress Meghan is no stranger to greeting fans during walkabouts and looked perfectly at ease during today's meet and greet

As a former actress Meghan is no stranger to greeting fans during walkabouts and looked perfectly at ease during today's meet and greet

As a former actress Meghan is no stranger to greeting fans during walkabouts and looked perfectly at ease during today’s meet and greet

The Queen and Meghan taking their seats for the official opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire

The Queen and Meghan taking their seats for the official opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire

The Duchess of Sussex cut an elegant figure in a cream Givenchy dress as she took her seat beside Her Majesty

The Duchess of Sussex cut an elegant figure in a cream Givenchy dress as she took her seat beside Her Majesty

The Queen and Meghan taking their seats for the official opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire. The Duchess of Sussex cut an elegant figure in a cream Givenchy dress as she took her seat beside Her Majesty

Meghan clapped as her husband's grandmother unveiled a plaque to officially open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire

Meghan clapped as her husband's grandmother unveiled a plaque to officially open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire

The monarch receiving flowers from a young schoolboy after leaving Storyhouse Chester

The monarch receiving flowers from a young schoolboy after leaving Storyhouse Chester

Meghan clapped as her husband’s grandmother unveiled a plaque to officially open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire. Right: The monarch receiving flowers from a young schoolboy after leaving Storyhouse Chester

Royal visitors! Youngsters were treated to a drop in from some very esteemed guests in the form of Meghan and the Queen

Royal visitors! Youngsters were treated to a drop in from some very esteemed guests in the form of Meghan and the Queen

Royal visitors! Youngsters were treated to a drop in from some very esteemed guests in the form of Meghan and the Queen

She also spoke to Sarah Christian, 58, who was being helped by Jade Hughes, 20, to look at photographs of her old school online on a iPad.  

‘The Queen said it was much easier to swipe along on these things to look at photographs than the photograph albums she has,’ Jade said.

She also told Graham Haslett, 62, who had come in to earn about how to use his new smart phone: ‘It must be very confusing. ‘ Meghan added: ‘It’s not easy for everyone to do that.’

The royal visitors watched a performance by Fallen Angels, a dance theatre company for people recovering from addiction.

The glowing Duchess looked radiant for her first official engagement with the keen and was completely at ease as she completed the traditional royal walkabout 

The glowing Duchess looked radiant for her first official engagement with the keen and was completely at ease as she completed the traditional royal walkabout 

The glowing Duchess looked radiant for her first official engagement with the keen and was completely at ease as she completed the traditional royal walkabout 

Eager royal fans who had lined the streets were naturally keen to whip out their phones and capture some photos of the Duchess 

Eager royal fans who had lined the streets were naturally keen to whip out their phones and capture some photos of the Duchess 

Eager royal fans who had lined the streets were naturally keen to whip out their phones and capture some photos of the Duchess 

Meghan, who is known for her love of fresh flowers, was delighted to receive a bouquet of roses from a wellwisher

Meghan, who is known for her love of fresh flowers, was delighted to receive a bouquet of roses from a wellwisher

The Duchess accessorised her look for the day with a pair of pearl earrings she received from the Queen as a gift

The Duchess accessorised her look for the day with a pair of pearl earrings she received from the Queen as a gift

Meghan, who is known for her love of fresh flowers, was delighted to receive a bouquet of roses from a wellwisher. The Duchess accessorised her look for the day with a pair of pearl earrings she received from the Queen as a gift 

The new Duchess of Sussex was a big hit with royal fans who had lined the streets to greet the royal visitor 

The new Duchess of Sussex was a big hit with royal fans who had lined the streets to greet the royal visitor 

The new Duchess of Sussex was a big hit with royal fans who had lined the streets to greet the royal visitor 

Windswept! The Duchess was having a little trouble keeping her long hair under control in the wind

Windswept! The Duchess was having a little trouble keeping her long hair under control in the wind

Meghan decided to wear it down rather that opting for an updo

Meghan decided to wear it down rather that opting for an updo

Windswept! The Duchess was having a little trouble keeping her long hair under control in the wind after she decided to wear it down rather that opting for an updo 

The Queen was resplendent in a bright green ensemble by Stewart Parvin, thought to be a tribute to the victims of the Grenfell tragedy

The Queen was resplendent in a bright green ensemble by Stewart Parvin, thought to be a tribute to the victims of the Grenfell tragedy

Meghan opted for another dress by Givenchy after wearing a breathtaking gown by Clare Waight Keller for her wedding to Prince Harry last month

Meghan opted for another dress by Givenchy after wearing a breathtaking gown by Clare Waight Keller for her wedding to Prince Harry last month

The Queen was resplendent in a bright green ensemble by Stewart Parvin, thought to be a tribute to the victims of the Grenfell tragedy. Meghan opted for another dress by Givenchy after wearing a breathtaking gown by Clare Waight Keller for her wedding to Prince Harry last month 

While the Queen was vibrant in green, Meghan opted for a more pared back look in an elegant cream dress with a cape detail around the shoulders 

While the Queen was vibrant in green, Meghan opted for a more pared back look in an elegant cream dress with a cape detail around the shoulders 

While the Queen was vibrant in green, Meghan opted for a more pared back look in an elegant cream dress with a cape detail around the shoulders 

Meghan, 36, is throwing herself into her new royal role at full speed

Meghan, 36, is throwing herself into her new royal role at full speed

Today she's on her first day of official engagements with the Queen, less than a month after getting married to Prince Harry and proved she's already adept at walkabouts

Today she's on her first day of official engagements with the Queen, less than a month after getting married to Prince Harry and proved she's already adept at walkabouts

Meghan, 36, is throwing herself into her new royal role at full speed. Today she’s on her first day of official engagements with the Queen, less than a month after getting married to Prince Harry and proved she’s already adept at walkabouts

The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen visited the Storyhouse in Chester this afternoon during their first day of joint engagements 

The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen visited the Storyhouse in Chester this afternoon during their first day of joint engagements 

The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen visited the Storyhouse in Chester this afternoon during their first day of joint engagements 

‘Wonderful. That must help,’ she remarked.

She and Meghan then moved into the theatre to watch a medley of songs from Storyhouse’s latest production, ‘A Little Night Music’, as well as a performance by actors from ‘Swallow and Amazons’ and children from schools including Cherry Grove, Queen’s School and St Clare’s.

As they left they were handed posies by Lilya Fagan seven, from Newton Primary School and Aneiran Egan-Simon, six, from Oldfield Primary.

Lilya was fizzing with excitement afterward. ‘The Queen said Newton had the smartest blazers! I can’t believe it!’

Storyhouse is a pioneering new theatre and library complex that has attracted more than a million visitors in its first year of opening. It has become a hub for the local community.

The Queen unveiled a plaque to mark its opening, watched by the Duchess, no doubt keen to learn from the best in the business.

Meghan and the Queen watched a dance performance by local schoolchildren celebrating 1,000 years of crossings across the river

Meghan and the Queen watched a dance performance by local schoolchildren celebrating 1,000 years of crossings across the river

The performance was set to a seven-minute medley of music that included Edgar's March Pomp and Circumstance

The performance was set to a seven-minute medley of music that included Edgar's March Pomp and Circumstance

Meghan and the Queen watched a dance performance by local schoolchildren celebrating 1,000 years of crossings across the river, set to a seven-minute medley of music that included Edgar’s March Pomp and Circumstance

The Duchess of Sussex was all smiles as she watched schoolchildren perform at at the Storyhouse Centre

The Duchess of Sussex was all smiles as she watched schoolchildren perform at at the Storyhouse Centre

It's her first day of engagements with the Queen, but after some initial nerves Meghan seemed perfectly at ease

It's her first day of engagements with the Queen, but after some initial nerves Meghan seemed perfectly at ease

The Duchess of Sussex was all smiles as she watched schoolchildren perform at at the Storyhouse Centre. It’s her first day of engagements with the Queen, but after some initial nerves Meghan seemed perfectly at ease 

WALKABOUT IN CHESTER

The Queen and Duchess of Sussex received huge applause from the hundreds of people who had waited patiently to catch a glimpse of the royal pair.

Just moments before they appeared, the dark grey clouds that had threatened to bring rain and had loomed overhead for the most part of the morning suddenly parted to reveal glorious sunshine.

Her Majesty took no hesitation in walking straight up to wellwishers who had pinned the security barriers a flag with her face centred upon the Union Jack.

Alison Franklin, 68, said: ‘The Queen smiled broadly at us and we thanked her for coming. She said she had enjoyed her visit very much.’

Meghan, slightly hesitant before joining in, delayed her first interaction with the crowd until a royal aide gestured her forward.

Amid huge cheers, she was greeted by the Linforth family who had travelled from Oxten overnight and stayed in a campervan nearby, emerging at 7am to get the perfect spot to greet the royals.

Mum Clare beemed as her son Ben, eight and daughter Charlotte, nine, shook hands with the Duchess and welcomed her to the city.

The children, who had been granted the day off school by their headteacher, handed Meghan a bouquet of flowers as the Duchess said: ‘Thank you so much’.

Firm friends! The Queen looked in great spirits as she began her day out with Harry's new wife

Firm friends! The Queen looked in great spirits as she began her day out with Harry's new wife

The new Duchess of Sussex walked behind the monarch as she prepared to dismount the Royal Train at Runcorn Station

The new Duchess of Sussex walked behind the monarch as she prepared to dismount the Royal Train at Runcorn Station

Firm friends! The Queen looked in great spirits as she began her day out with Harry’s new wife and the pair showed their lighthearted bond as they laughed together during an opening ceremony for the new Mersey Gateway Bridge

Royal fan Jo Richards from Chester handed the Duchess a gift book of sketches by her friend depicting local landmarks before asking her about married life.

She said: ‘Meghan looked simply perfect, she is actually draw droppingly gorgeous.

‘I thanked her for coming to Chester and she sweetly said “You’re welcome, I’m very happy to be here”.

‘Then I asked her was she enjoying married life and she said “Harry is the best husband ever”, she was so sweet.’

Boyed by her friend’s confidence, Sharon Briscoe, 61, from nearby Chirk asked to see Meghan’s wedding ring before remarking on Meghan’s stunning look at her Windsor wedding.

One is definitely amused! The pair seemed to derive a lot of enjoyment from a performance by local children at the opening of  the new Mersey Gateway Bridge

One is definitely amused! The pair seemed to derive a lot of enjoyment from a performance by local children at the opening of  the new Mersey Gateway Bridge

One is definitely amused! The pair seemed to derive a lot of enjoyment from a performance by local children at the opening of  the new Mersey Gateway Bridge

The new Duchess of Sussex was all smiles as she arrived in Cheshire for her first join engagement with the Queen

The new Duchess of Sussex was all smiles as she arrived in Cheshire for her first join engagement with the Queen

The former actress was solicitous over the Her Majesty and kept a watchful eye on the monarch as she followed her lead

The former actress was solicitous over the Her Majesty and kept a watchful eye on the monarch as she followed her lead

The new Duchess of Sussex was all smiles as she arrived in Cheshire for her first join engagement with the Queen. The former actress was solicitous over the Her Majesty and kept a watchful eye on the monarch as she followed her lead 

The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen arrive by Royal Train at Runcorn Station to carry out engagements in Cheshire

The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen arrive by Royal Train at Runcorn Station to carry out engagements in Cheshire

The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen arrive by Royal Train at Runcorn Station to carry out engagements in Cheshire

Smiling Meghan looked poised and confident as she stood alongside the monarch during their first official engagement together

Smiling Meghan looked poised and confident as she stood alongside the monarch during their first official engagement together

The Duchess showed that she's already a pro at mingling with the crowds as she chatted to wellwishers during a walkabout

The Duchess showed that she's already a pro at mingling with the crowds as she chatted to wellwishers during a walkabout

Smiling Meghan looked poised and confident as she stood alongside the monarch during their first official engagement together (left). The Duchess showed that she’s already a pro at mingling with the crowds as she chatted to wellwishers during a walkabout 

Today will offer Meghan the opportunity to learn from the Queen who has been on the throne for 66 years and has conducted tens of thousands of public engagements

Today will offer Meghan the opportunity to learn from the Queen who has been on the throne for 66 years and has conducted tens of thousands of public engagements

Today will offer Meghan the opportunity to learn from the Queen who has been on the throne for 66 years and has conducted tens of thousands of public engagements

Newlywed Meghan was still showing off that honeymoon glow, looking radiant in a cream Givenchy dress

Newlywed Meghan was still showing off that honeymoon glow, looking radiant in a cream Givenchy dress

She seemed to be in her element as she greeted wellswishers during the customary royal walkabout

She seemed to be in her element as she greeted wellswishers during the customary royal walkabout

Newlywed Meghan was still showing off that honeymoon glow, looking radiant in a cream Givenchy dress. She seemed to be in her element as she greeted wellswishers during the customary royal walkabout 

The Duchess of Sussex greeted a wellwisher bandishing a bunch of flowers and a Welsh flag during her visit to Chester 

The Duchess of Sussex greeted a wellwisher bandishing a bunch of flowers and a Welsh flag during her visit to Chester 

The Duchess of Sussex greeted a wellwisher bandishing a bunch of flowers and a Welsh flag during her visit to Chester 

The former Suits star shook hands with local officials as she said her goodbyes

The former Suits star shook hands with local officials as she said her goodbyes

The Duchess climbed into the Queen's waiting Bentley, carrying a bouquet of flowers

The Duchess climbed into the Queen's waiting Bentley, carrying a bouquet of flowers

The former Suits star shook hands with local officials as she said her goodbyes. The Duchess climbed into the Queen’s waiting Bentley, carrying a bouquet of flowers 

Meghan looked to be in her element as she worked the crowds and chatted to wellwishers who had lined the streets for the royal visit 

Meghan looked to be in her element as she worked the crowds and chatted to wellwishers who had lined the streets for the royal visit 

Meghan looked to be in her element as she worked the crowds and chatted to wellwishers who had lined the streets for the royal visit 

Mrs Briscoe, said: ‘I was actually stunned by how beautiful she is in the flesh. I asked her how married life was and she said “wonderful”, and then I told her how gorgeous she looked at her wedding and that both her and Harry look made for each other to which she replied “Thank you, that means so much to us both”.

‘It was an unforgettable experience, just wonderful.’

A group of schoolfriends from Stockport in Manchester took the first train to Chester this morning to get in place outside the town hall to catch a glimpse of the Queen and Meghan.

Daisy Johnson, 20, excitedly called out to the Duchess as she came by, attempting to usher her over to meet her friend, also called Meghan.

Daisy said: ‘I got quite excited as she was getting nearer and I just blurted it out really, I called over to her ‘Excuse me Meghan, do you want to meet my friend Meghan?

‘She turned to us straigh away and walked over, smiled and said ‘Hello Meghan, lovely to meet you’.’

Meghan Perry, 20, said: ‘I couldn’t believe it, she actually came over and said hello, it was really lovely.’ 

ON BOARD THE ROYAL TRAIN  

The monarch has invited Meghan to accompany her for a day of engagements today and MailOnline understands that, given the distances involved, the train set off yesterday – arriving at Runcorn station this morning. 

While the Queen always tends to make long distance journeys on her train overnight, it will be quite the eye-opener for her new grand-daughter-in-law.

The locomotive consists of nine carriages in total, however, these are often reduced to seven depending on the number of people travelling, and Her Majesty is said to described it as one of the few places where she can relax in total privacy.

At over 150 years old it is the only private, non-commercial train service catering to one family still in operation in the UK and these photos offer a rare glimpse into Britain’s most exclusive railway service. 

Much of the nine-carriage train currently in service dates back to 1977 when it was extensively used during the Silver Jubilee tours and while a novel experience, it is terribly dated and not entirely luxurious. 

In fact, photographs of inside the train show how it is now a lot more functional, in contrast to the plush interiors that it used to boast in its glamorous heyday.

This comes after criticism over the expense of the royal train, which cost taxpayers £900,000 in 2016. 

Royal sleepover! The Duchess of Sussex stayed on board the Royal train (pictured) alongside the monarch who has invited Meghan to accompany her for a day of engagements

Royal sleepover! The Duchess of Sussex stayed on board the Royal train (pictured) alongside the monarch who has invited Meghan to accompany her for a day of engagements

Royal sleepover! The Duchess of Sussex stayed on board the Royal train (pictured) alongside the monarch who has invited Meghan to accompany her for a day of engagements

The pair were last seen together at Trooping of the colour,

The pair were last seen together at Trooping of the colour,

They will arrive at Runcorn Station on Thursday morning

They will arrive at Runcorn Station on Thursday morning

The pair, who were last seen together at Trooping of the Colour, set off yesterday – arriving at Runcorn station this morning

Her Majesty’s personal saloon is 75ft long and fitted with secondary air suspension giving passengers an exceptionally smooth and comfortable ride.

It has a bedroom, decorated in light pastel shades, with a 3ft-wide single bed in one corner (there are no double beds on the Royal Train) made up with cotton sheets and woollen blankets. 

While Prince Philip’s pillows are plain, the Queen’s are trimmed with lace, with a small Royal cipher in one corner. The ceiling has subdued strip lighting and there are several reading lamps near the bed.

The adjoining bathroom has a full-size bath, but the fittings are modest and functional. 

The table is set in the dining room in this photo, taken back in 2006, and shows that the train has received a simpler makeover through the years

The table is set in the dining room in this photo, taken back in 2006, and shows that the train has received a simpler makeover through the years

The table is set in the dining room in this photo, taken back in 2006, and shows that the train has received a simpler makeover through the years

The train operators make sure the carriages are not crossing any bumpy points just after 7.30am: that could make the water slop around when the Queen is taking her bath. The train’s speed is always lower than the normal maximum for any route.

The sitting room has a sofa with hand-stitched velvet cushions, armchairs and the small dining table where the Queen and Prince Philip have breakfast. 

The table can be extended to seat six people. There is also a desk in one corner where Her Majesty works on her official papers.

Although she has enjoyed several meetings with the Queen and spent time with her at Windsor Castle, the overnight journey was unprecedented for Meghan.

Staff accommodation aboard the train features a single bed and several illustrations to brighten up the interior

Staff accommodation aboard the train features a single bed and several illustrations to brighten up the interior

Staff accommodation aboard the train features a single bed and several illustrations to brighten up the interior

How old is the Royal Train?

At over 150 years old, the Royal Train is the only private, non-commercial train service catering to one family still in operation in the UK.

The train came into existence during the reign of Queen Victoria who was the first reigning sovereign to make a train journey when she travelled from Slough to Paddington, London, on June 13, 1842.

In 1869 she commissioned a special pair of coaches at a cost of £1,800: a considerable sum in those days. Victoria remains to this day the only monarch to have paid with her own money for Royal carriages to be built.

When her son succeeded to the throne as Edward VII, he ordered a completely new Royal Train in the second year of his reign, 1902, with the instructions that ‘it is to be as much like the Royal Yacht as possible’.

Royal sleepover! The monarch has invited Meghan to accompany her for a day of engagements on Thursday and the pair will travel together on board the Royal Train (pictured)

Royal sleepover! The monarch has invited Meghan to accompany her for a day of engagements on Thursday and the pair will travel together on board the Royal Train (pictured)

Royal sleepover! The monarch has invited Meghan to accompany her for a day of engagements on Thursday and the pair will travel together on board the Royal Train (pictured)

The interior had bedrooms, dressing rooms, day rooms and a smoking room. It boasted three-speed electric fans, electric radiators and cookers and even an electric cigar lighter.

The King’s favourite was his smoking room, which was manned by two liveried footmen, one just to light His Majesty’s cigars and the other to adjust the curtains and windows in case the sunlight was too strong, or fresh air was required.

His son and successor, George V, had the distinction of installing the first bath on a train anywhere in the world.

While Queen Victoria’s was the first train in the world to have a lavatory installed on board – in 1850, at the suggestion of Prince Albert – only the Prince Consort used it in the early days of Royal progress. 

Members of the entourage who invariably accompanied the Queen had to wait until the train stopped and then use public lavatories.

While the train is fitted with several sleeper carriages the locomotive never travels through the night, instead making stops at secret locations away from the mainline so that the royal passengers can sleep uninterrupted.

The overnight stops are usually made about an hour’s travelling time from the final destination. 

This means the Royals are able to rise, bathe, dress, have a leisurely breakfast and then be briefed by their private secretary on the day’s programme as the train completes its journey. Arrivals are usually timed so that they do not disrupt any normal rail schedules.

The appearance of the Queen’s current saloon is a long way from the velvet interiors and plush furnishings of carriages of the Victorian era.

Today the carriages are fitted with far simpler furnishings with a light wood cladding and each window fitted with a pair of drapes to ensure the utmost privacy. 

The journey provided the queen a chance to spend some ‘quality time’ with Harry’s new bride, with relatively few interruptions. 

In 2016 royals travelled on the distinctive liveried train just 14 times at a cost of £900,000 to taxpayers.

Buckingham Palace officials admit it is expensive, but say the Queen, 92, finds it more comfortable to use on overnight on long-distance journeys.

The train came into existence during the reign of Queen Victoria who was the first reigning sovereign to make a train journey when she travelled from Slough to London Paddington on June 13, 1842.

In 1869 she commissioned a special pair of coaches at a cost of £1,800: a considerable sum in those days. Victoria remains to this day the only monarch to have paid with her own money for Royal carriages to be built.

When her son succeeded to the throne as Edward VII, he ordered a completely new Royal Train in the second year of his reign, 1902, with the instructions that ‘it is to be as much like the Royal Yacht as possible’.  

The interior had bedrooms, dressing rooms, day rooms and a smoking room. It boasted three-speed electric fans, electric radiators and cookers and even an electric cigar lighter.

The King’s favourite was his smoking room, which was manned by two liveried footmen, one just to light His Majesty’s cigars and the other to adjust the curtains and windows in case the sunlight was too strong, or fresh air was required.

His son and successor, George V, had the distinction of installing the first bath on a train anywhere in the world.

While Queen Victoria’s was the first train in the world to have a lavatory installed on board – in 1850, at the suggestion of Prince Albert – only the Prince Consort used it in the early days of Royal progress. Members of the entourage who invariably accompanied the Queen had to wait until the train stopped and then use public lavatories.

While the train is fitted with several sleeper carriages the locomotive never travels through the night, instead making stops at secret locations away from the mainline so that the royal passengers can sleep uninterrupted.

The overnight stops are usually made about an hour’s travelling time from the final destination. This means the Royals are able to rise, bathe, dress, have a leisurely breakfast and then be briefed by their private secretary on the day’s programme as the train completes its journey. Arrivals are usually timed so that they do not disrupt any normal rail schedules.

The appearance of the Queen’s current saloon is a long way from the velvet interiors and plush furnishings of carriages of the Victorian era.

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