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Queen and Meghan in first royal visit

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

“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.”

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.

The bridge between Runcorn and Widnes was opened in October and has been subject of fierce debate over its tolls.

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

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.

Source: BBC

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