The Duchess of Sussex has enjoyed a day out with the Queen in Cheshire as they took part in their first official engagements together.
Thousands turned out to catch a glimpse of the newlywed as she accompanied the 92-year-old monarch for the first time without her husband Harry on official engagements in Runcorn, Widnes and Chester.
Meghan, 36, was by her new grandmother-in-law’s side as she officially opened the Mersey Gateway bridge and the Storyhouse arts centre in
Chester, where they also observed a minute’s silence for the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
The pair travelled up to the north-west of England on the Royal Train and arrived to cheers from flag-waving schoolchildren at a blustery
Runcorn train station on Thursday morning.
The US-born former actress, wearing a cream fitted knee-length dress by Givenchy, confirmed it was her first visit to the north of the country as she was greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire David Briggs MBE and was presented with a posy of flowers by five-year-old Abigail Grimes.
The Royals then took a short car journey to the Catalyst science museum in Widnes, where the Queen, wearing spring green coat by Stewart Parvin and matching hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan, unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the £1.86 billion bridge over the River Mersey.
The two appeared to share a joke together as they smiled while watching a performance by children from the Andrew Curphey Theatre Company.
Mr Curphey, 32, who met the Royals after the performance, said: “The Queen said she thoroughly enjoyed it and it was lovely to see the history of the bridge on the videos.
“As Meghan walked away from me she turned back and said: ‘The children did great, by the way.’
“Meghan seemed really, really calm considering it was her first official engagement with the boss!”
Among the dignitaries who met the Royals in Widnes were Grange Hill and Brookside creator Phil Redmond and wife Alexis, the High Sheriff of Cheshire.
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 final engagement of the day was in Chester, where the Queen and Meghan were cheered by crowds who had been waiting hours for their arrival.
In the day’s only sombre moment, they joined the rest of the country in holding a minute’s silence at 12pm for the Grenfell victims, following their arrival in the historic city.
They then visited the Storyhouse arts centre, where a smiling Meghan occasionally leaned over to make a comment to the Queen as they watched performances, including songs by a choir of local schoolchildren.
The pair then met the crowds of thousands of people on Northgate Street as they walked from the centre to the town hall, where they had lunch as guests of Cheshire West and Chester Council.
The Queen walked down one side of the road and Meghan the other as they stopped to chat to people and collected dozens of floral bouquets and other gifts.
Meghan was spotted showing her wedding ring off to one group of well-wishers.
The crowds broke into deafening cheers as the two appeared on the town hall balcony together.