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Queen and Meghan in first royal visit together in Cheshire


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PA

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

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.

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.

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The Duchess of Sussex was wearing Givenchy and the Queen lime green Stewart Parvin

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.”

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Getty Images

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The Queen officially opening the Mersey Gateway Bridge

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PA

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It is the first time the Queen and the duchess have taken part in a royal event together without the duke

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.

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

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Schoolchildren near Runcorn Station were eager for a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duchess of Sussex

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 on board 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 been 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 met architects, planners and community representatives and watched a performance from local schoolchildren before Her Majesty unveiled a plaque to mark the opening.

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A patriotic pair await the arrival of the Queen and the duchess

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.

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Mersey Gateway Project

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The Mersey Gateway Bridge is the first calling point

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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