Less than a week after making her Buckingham palace balcony debut for the Trooping the Color celebrations, Meghan Markle, embarked on a trip to Cheshire for her first official outing with Queen Elizabeth.
The newly minted Duchess of Sussex and Her Majesty traveled overnight to the northwest England town via the exclusive royal train, which is the senior royals's preferred method of transportation as it allows them to relax and work during official trips.
Upon disembarking, the pair were welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs, who told Meghan: "I understand it is your first trip to the north of England.” She replied: “That’s correct. I’m very happy to be here.”
For her first full day of official engagements since her May 19 wedding to Prince Harry, Meghan attended the opening of the Mersey Gateway Bridge. They met with the architects and community representatives before being treated to a performance by local school children.
Next on their agenda is the Storyhouse in Chester, where they were to meet a Syrian settlement group, watch a performance by a dance company and enjoy a medley of songs from the production of A Little Night Music.
Finally, the new royal and her grandmother-in-law are set to have lunch at Chester Town Hall with a few locals.
The twosome's first outing is significant as "it is the way of the royal family—all part of the training and getting used to being in public life and under public scrutiny," according to the Queen's former press secretary, Charles Anton. "Showing people the ropes is a high priority for the Queen."
Anton isn't the only one who thinks that the trip is a way for the Queen to help Meghan become comfortable with her new role.
"The Queen knows the potential pitfalls of not giving [new members] a guiding hand. She can’t expect Meghan to know everything without being shown," says Ingrid Seward, author of the biography of the Queen and Prince Philip, My Husband & I. "I’m sure she feels Meghan needs a steadying hand in these early days."
It looks like the Duchess is already on the right track as royal watchers and critics were pleased with her choice of outfit and hairstyle. She wore a bespoke nude dress by Givenchy, the same brand that designed her wedding dress.
Instead of her controversial, protocol-breaking messy bun, she opted to let her hair down for the occasion.
As for the Queen, as expected, she opted for a bright lime green suit dress by Stewart Parvin, and tied the look together with a matching hat.
Of course, Meghan's first solo outing with the Queen is already being compared to Kate Middleton's, which didn't happen for almost a year after she married Prince William.
The Duchess of Cambridge joined the Queen and Prince Philip for a trip to Leicester as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tour of the U.K. in March 2012.
The trio did not travel by royal train, instead they boarded a regular train from Kings Cross St. Pancras Station.
Both duchesses appeared really comfortable beside the Queen during their respective outings, and were photographed sharing a few laughs.
This comes as no surprise because royal insiders say that Meghan has become really close to the Queen since they met months ago.
Meghan even gushed about the Queen during her engagement interview with Harry.
"It's incredible, I think, you know, to be able to meet her through his lens, not just with his honor and respect for her as the monarch, but the love that he has for her as his grandmother," she said. "All of those layers have been so important for me so that when I met her I had such a deep understanding and, of course, incredible respect for being able to have that time with her. And we've had a really — she's an incredible woman."
Still, Meghan has a little bit more work to do before she gets to call the Queen one of her nicknames.
Only Her Majesty's closest family and friends are allowed to refer to her as "Lilibet" or "Mama." Seward says Meghan can only start using these affectionate names once she "gets to know her [the Queen] as Diana did."
For now, "she will address her as Your Majesty and curtsy," then use "Ma'am" and throw it "in the conversation as many times as possible."
Judging from today's successful outing, we're sure the ever so charming Meghan will be calling the Queen "Mama" in no time.
We're looking forward to seeing the pair together again soon!
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