The Duchess of Sussex will be preparing for her royal outing on Thursday, when she joins the Queen in Cheshire. The pair will spend their first away day together, but their journey will start the night before when Meghan and the Queen board the royal train. They are expected to set off the evening before, as the 92-year-old monarch prefers to make long-distance journeys overnight rather than wake up earlier than usual.
The train ride can take up to two and a half hours from London to Runcorn in Cheshire, but the royal train usually travels at a lower than normal speed. It is fitted with secondary air suspension meaning passengers have an exceptionally smooth and comfortable ride.
The Queen and Meghan Markle will travel overnight to Cheshire on the royal train
It will certainly be an eye-opening experience for Meghan, 36, who officially joined the royal family three weeks ago following her wedding to Prince Harry. The Queen's personal train is usually reserved for senior royals and palace staff, with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall making the most use of it. Prince William is only believed to have used it once in 2003 on his birthday tour, when he travelled to Wales, while Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge are not thought to have ridden it before in an official capacity.
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Described as Buckingham Palace on wheels, the lavish 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. It is only used a handful of times a year. In 2017, the train 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 Her Majesty.
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On 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.