Queen and Meghan in first royal visit together in Cheshire

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Sussex at the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, in Widnes, Cheshire Image copyright PA

The Queen and Duchess of Sussex are in Cheshire for their first royal engagement together.

Her Majesty and newly-married Meghan are officially opening the Mersey Gateway Bridge and Chester’s Storyhouse Theatre.

They will then attend a lunch at Chester Town Hall as guests of the city council.

It is the first time the duchess has attended an event with the Queen without her husband Prince Harry.

Image copyright Getty Images

Thousands of people were already waiting at the venues hours before the royal pair arrived, with stalls set up on the streets selling flags and souvenirs.

The Queen and duchess were greeted by hundreds of cheering schoolchildren as they stepped off the royal train at Runcorn station.

David Briggs MBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Cheshire, welcomed Meghan as she left the train.

He said: “Welcome to Cheshire. I understand this is your first visit to northern England.”

The duchess, wearing a cream outfit by Givenchy, replied: “That’s right yes.”

Image copyright Getty Images

Image copyright PA

Abigail Grimes, a pupil at Runcorn’s Beechwood Primary School, was chosen to present the duchess with a posy of flowers as it was the youngster’s fifth birthday. Meghan nodded and thanked her for the gift.

The Queen, wearing a green outfit by Stewart Parvin and matching hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan, was given flowers by Jack Jackson, 10, from St Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Widnes.

Image copyright PA

At the scene, Danny Savage, BBC North of England correspondent

The Duchess of Sussex has taken part in royal engagements since her wedding but this is arguably her most important yet – accompanying the Queen on a day of visits.

They arrived in Cheshire onboard the royal train and are visiting the new Mersey Gateway Bridge and Chester.

Thousands of people are already waiting at the venues to try and get a view of the pair.

Stalls selling flags and souvenirs have set up on the streets of Chester and schoolchildren who will meet the Queen and duchess during the day were delivered to where they needed to be early this morning.

During the visit to the bridge, the royals are meeting architects, planners and community representatives and watching a performance from local schoolchildren before Her Majesty unveils a plaque to mark the opening.

Image copyright PA

The bridge between Runcorn and Widnes was opened in October and has been subject to controversy over its tolls.

The Queen and the duchess will then travel to Chester where they will tour Storyhouse Theatre.

Image copyright Mersey Gateway Project

The £37m theatre opened in May 2017 following a two-and-a-half-year project to transform the city’s former Odeon cinema.

During the visit, they will see performances from a theatre company for people in recovery from addiction.

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