Meghan Markle and the Queen LIVE: Newlywed joins the monarch

Meghan Markle and the Queen LIVE: Newlywed joins monarch for first SOLO outing

  • Newlywed the Duchess of Sussex passes another royal milestone this morning
  • She joins the Queen for their first official royal visit together to Cheshire 
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Newlywed the Duchess of Sussex will pass another royal milestone on Thursday as she accompanies the Queen for the first time together on an official royal visit to Cheshire.

Meghan, 36, who married the Queen’s grandson Prince Harry last month in the gothic splendour of the 15th-century St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, will begin her rites of passage as a royal newcomer with a visit to Widnes and Runcorn, on the banks of the River Mersey, famous for chemicals and rugby league.

All eyes will be on the duchess, the first time she has joined the Queen for an event without her husband, as she gets to grips with her new role of ribbon cutting and plaque unveiling, under the watchful eye of the 92-year-old monarch.

MailOnline brings you the latest updates.

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  • Rod Ardehali

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Inside the Royal Train which carried the Queen and Meghan to Merseyside

The Duchess of Sussex joined the Queen on board the Royal Train last night for an overnight journey to Cheshire.

Meghan, who is performing her first engagement without Prince Harry today, left her husband for the first time since their wedding in May.

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.

Grange Hill and Brookside creator Phil Redmond and wife Alexis, the High Sheriff of Cheshire, were among those gathered to greet the royals.

Mr Redmond joked he should have asked Meghan if she wanted a part in his soap Hollyoaks.

He said: ‘I didn’t ask her, but there’s still lunch yet. She’ll have to go through the audition process like everybody else.’

Mrs Redmond said: ‘It’s fantastic to have them here and it’s a big day for Cheshire.’

The itinerary for the US-born former actress and the 92-year-old monarch included officially opening the Mersey Gateway Bridge, a £1.86 billion six lane toll crossing designed to ease traffic between Runcorn and Widnes.

But the opening event was at the Catalyst Museum in West Bank, Widnes, which offers a bird’s eye view of the new crossing from the glass top observation gallery.

Later the pair were heading to the historic city of Chester for more engagements.

Alighting from the Royal train along side the Queen, Meghan was greeted by David Briggs MBE, the Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire. 

He told the duchess: ‘Welcome to Cheshire. I understand this is your first visit to northern England.’

The duchess, wearing an outfit by Givenchy and clutching a handbag, replied: ‘That’s right yes.’

Both arrived by royal train at Runcorn train station to begin the day’s engagements before departing by car for the Mersey Gateway Bridge.

There the Queen will unveil a plaque to officially open the £1.86 billion project, a six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey, to ease traffic between Runcorn and Widnes.

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