Meghan’s first royal duties with grandma-in-law at her side

Irish Independent - - World - Han­nah Fur­ness

MEGHAN Markle made her first ap­pear­ance with the Bri­tish queen at her side yes­ter­day on a se­ries of pub­lic en­gage­ments in Cheshire.

The for­mer ac­tress, who trav­elled up to Ch­ester on the royal train with Queen El­iz­a­beth, un­der­took her first day of duties with­out her hus­band, un­der the watch­ful eye of her new grand­mother-in-law.

They stepped onto the blus­tery plat­form at Run­corn sta­tion to be wel­comed with po­lite hand­shakes and curt­sies from lo­cal dig­ni­taries – and wild cheer­ing and ap­plause from hun­dreds of f lag-wav­ing school­child­ren.

Nerves

The Duchess of Sus­sex’s nerves, and lack of ex­pe­ri­ence in the minu­tiae of royal pro­to­col, were in ev­i­dence as they pre­pared to get into the queen’s Bent­ley await­ing them in the sta­tion car park.

There was a mo­ment of con­fu­sion as the duchess ap­peared un­sure who should get into the car first. “What is your pref­er­ence?” she asked the queen. “You go first,” said the queen. “Oh, OK,” said the duchess, who was wear­ing ear­rings given to her as a gift by her grand­mother-in-law.

But as they sat for a cer­e­mony for the open­ing of the Mersey Gate­way Bridge in Widnes, the duchess was seen leaning in and talk­ing to the queen, which pro­duced what ap­peared to be fits of laugh­ter from the 92-yearold as they watched chil­dren per­form.

They also ob­served a si­lence in mem­ory of those who lost their lives in the Gren­fell Tower dis­as­ter.

At her sec­ond en­gage­ment open­ing the new bridge across the River Mersey in Widnes, the duchess seemed to have found her stride, deep in dis­cus­sion with the queen and shar­ing a joke.

The pair spoke to Hal­ton Coun­cil of­fi­cials, architects and en­gi­neers and oth­ers in­volved in the 25-year pro­ject to cre­ate the new toll bridge be­tween Widnes and Run­corn.

“It’s a mag­nif­i­cent bridge,” the duchess told them be­fore join­ing the queen on a stage to watch a dance per­for­mance by lo­cal school­child­ren cel­e­brat­ing

1,000 years of cross­ings over the river.

The royal vis­i­tors lapped it up, smil­ing and chat­ting to each other and to dig­ni­taries as they watched chil­dren dance to a seven-minute med­ley of mu­sic that in­cluded El­gar’s march ‘Pomp and Cir­cum­stance’ and the Bea­tles’ ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’. (© The Daily Tele­graph)

The Duchess of Sus­sex and Queen El­iz­a­beth at­tend the open­ing of the Mersey Gate­way Bridge in Run­corn, Cheshire, yes­ter­day

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