Having spent the royal night together in the train, The Queen and Meghan arrived in Chester by train just after 10:30 in the morning local time to excitable crowds who had waited hours to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty and Meghan.
It marked the first time Meghan accompanied the Queen on a solo engagement, and it was revealed that Meghan was personally invited by the Queen. The away day is intended to show Meghan “the breadth of work the royal family carries out.”. The day also marked the first engagement for Meghan without Harry by her side.
As they disembarked from the royal train, Meghan walked a step behind the Queen, adhering to protocol. She was welcomed by David Briggs who said: “Welcome to Cheshire. I understand this is your first visit to northern England.” Meghan replied: “That’s right yes. I’m very happy to be here.”
An arrival video:
The royal train was designed back in 1842 in the era of Queen Victoria to serve as a royal residence when members of the family were away on tour. The train is comprised of nine separate carriages – with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, a dining room that seats 12, and an office where the Queen is said to work during her travels. Of course, there is also some room for staff from the royal household who accompany the Queen or her guests to their destination.
Royals are only permitted to use the train on invitation from the monarch, and it is typically reserved for only the senior royals, including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the late Duke of Edinburgh. Meanwhile, Meghan became the youngest royal to accompany the Queen for an engagement on the royal train that day.
The Queen uses the train on official engagements, and for longer journeys around the UK such as to Scotland or Norfolk, especially when the Queen’s children were young.
The Queen and Meghan were then met by a waiting car and driven to Mersey Gateway Bridge, a six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey to meet architects, planners and community members.
It was obvious that Meghan was a bit nervous that day, People wrote:
“As the pair prepared to get into Queen Elizabeth‘s waiting Bentley after disembarking from the royal train, there was a moment of confusion as Meghan appeared unsure who should get into the car first. Fortunately, the 92-year-old monarch smoothly guided her through. “What is your preference?” she asked the Queen. “You go first,” said Elizabeth. “Oh, okay,” said the new Duchess of Sussex.”
A video from the situation:
The Queen and Meghan viewed the Mersey GateAway Bridge before they watched local school children perform a show called “Bringing Communities Together: Hatton’s River Crossings Over the Ages,”
A video from the performance:
The Queen then unveiled a plaque to declare the bridge officially open.
“The Mersey Gateway is a bridge across Mersey River to connect Widnes and Runcorn in Cheshire, UK.
The Mersey Gateway project involved the construction of a new toll bridge and the rehabilitation of an approximately 10km-long road network from the North Cheshire motorway (M56) in the south of Runcorn to Speke Road in Widnes. It also included improvements and changes in the existing Halton road network to integrate the project into the existing highway network”
Meghan also met with architects, planners and community members.
After the plaque unveiling, the The Queen and Meghan took off to a theatre and library in the center of Chester called Storyhouse, where they were given a tour of the building and observed a 72-second moment of silence in tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Inside the theatre they watched some set pieces from a production of A Little Night Music and saw schoolchildren from local primary schools perform songs alongside actors from Swallows and Amazons.
“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.
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.”
They also watched a Syrian settlement group doing traditional craftwork and the second performance of the day, a dance by Fallen Angels, a local theatre group for recovering drug addicts.
From Storyhouses website:
“Storyhouse is Chester’s multi award-winning £37m theatre, library, restaurant and cinema. The restored and revitalised 1930s Odeon building houses an 800-seat auditorium, a 150-seat studio theatre, a restaurant and two bars plus a 100-seat boutique, independent cinema. Alongside the building, Storyhouse run a series of festivals as well as Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre and Moonlight Flicks.”
A video from the visit:
The Queen then unveiled a plaque again
And then made her way outside with Meghan to make the short walk to Chester Town Hall.
Watch a member of the crowd asking The Queen to hand the flowers over to Meghan:
The Queen and Meghan then joined over 170 local politicians and civic dignitaries at Chester Town Hall for lunch, as guests of Cheshire West and Chester Council. The menu:
“Head of catering at Horseradish Angus Wilson said: “We were honoured to welcome Her Majesty The Queen and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex to the Town Hall. The menu was meticulously designed for the occasion by our chefs and we are all thrilled that it was a success.
After lunch our team met the royal duo who were ever so grateful and offered their kind words regarding how much they had enjoyed their visit. It was a special day that we will all remember for a long time to come.”
As for her outfit Meghan stunned again in a bespoke cream cape dress by Givenchy. (Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy also designed Meghan’s wedding dress, so Meghan’s choice to wear Keller’s designs for another big moment is a major nod of approval to her.)
Givenchy’s shared a tweet:
‘The last time we saw the Duchess of Sussex wearing Clare Waight-Keller for Givenchy it was for a very special reason – her wedding day. And now, Meghan has called up her wedding dress designer to dress her for another royal milestone – a visit to Cheshire on her first solo outing with the Queen. Wearing a cream caped dress by Givenchy, the Duchess of Sussex looked incredible as she stepped out with the monarch.
Clare Waight Keller told HELLO!’s royal correspondent Emily Nash: “She is just exactly what you see on TV. She is just so genuine and warm and radiant. She is just glowing. And she’s a strong woman. She knows what she wants and really it was an absolute joy working with her.”
Meghan added a Givenchy Black 2G Buckle Belt to the dress.
She carried a Givenchy Leather Crossbody Bag.
And wore a pair of Sarah Flint Perfect Pumps.
It was confirmed that day the Meghan’s earrings was a gift from the queen
A lovely day!