The Duchess of Sussex is set to experience another royal ‘first’ when she visits Cheshire next week. Meghan will join the Queen for a day of engagements on Thursday, with the pair travelling up north using the monarch’s personal train that is only reserved for senior royals. Prince Philip, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and their staff are the only people who are entitled to use the royal train; Prince William is only believed to have used it once in 2003 on his birthday tour, when he traveled to Wales, while Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge are not thought to have ridden it before in an official capacity.
Described as Buckingham Palace on wheels, the lavish train is only used a handful of times a year. In 2017, it was used just 14 times at a cost of £900,000 to taxpayers. While it is very costly, it does provide a more comfortable ride for the 92-year-old monarch, especially when she travels overnight. The train, which was first used by Queen Victoria in 1842, has a luxurious smoking room, bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and a 12-seater dining room.
Next Thursday, Meghan and the Queen will spend the day in Cheshire. They will open the Mersey Gateway Bridge before opening the Storyhouse Theatre – a fitting engagement for former actress Meghan, who was best known for her role in Suits. The pair will then attend a lunch at Chester Town Hall.
The Duchess’ day out with the Queen marks a milestone in her royal life. It is the first time she will carry out official duties without her husband Prince Harry, and will also be her first engagement with just the monarch. Meghan has previously accompanied the Queen on other engagements, such as at the Commonwealth Day service in March, but she was joined by other members of the royal family.
Royal watchers will see Meghan before next week’s engagement. The newlywed, who is still on her honeymoon with Harry, will attend Trooping the Colour on Saturday to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday at Buckingham Palace.