The Duchess of Sussex was invited to go to Chester with Her Majesty ‒ their first solo trip together ‒ not long after her royal wedding to Prince Harry. By contrast, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, had to wait a whole year after she married Prince William, before she went on a royal visit with just the Queen. Meghan and the Queen took the royal train to Cheshire, where they opened the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Runcorn, visited Chester’s Storyhouse theatre and had lunch at the Chester Town Hall with civic dignitaries.
They seemed to get on very well, with iconic pictures of them giggling together plastered in the newspapers.
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Thousands of people waited at the venues for them to arrive, with stalls set up on the streets selling flags and souvenirs.
However, according to a royal commentator, after Meghan’s relationship with the Palace started to break down, they began to question whether this had been the right move after all.
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Meghan Markle and the Queen went on their first trip together to Chester in 2018
Meghan and the Queen arriving in the royal train
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.
Mr Myers said last month: “There were some comments about whether people in the Palace thought they had made a mistake letting Meghan go on her first engagement with the Queen to Chester.
“And I was there at the time ‒ there were loads of crowds, great day, big privilege for her to step out with the Queen so soon after she got married.
“But the issue was they were saying, well did Meghan then think, ‘I don’t fancy this, going up to a northern town on a train overnight and I really want to be making speeches at the UN and change the way that girls’ education is sought after in Africa’.
Meghan and the Queen visiting the Storyhouse theatre
“And maybe she also thought ‘this is not for me’, and it all happened very, very quickly didn’t it?
“So obviously there have been massive mistakes on both sides and I’m sure that both sides feel a sense of regret at certain stages.”
However, the Queen taking Meghan on that trip was supposed to be a clear demonstration of her approval and friendship with her grandson’s wife.
This seems to fly in the face of the idea that Meghan was not treated well by the Royal Family.
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The Queen on a walkabout in Chester
Meghan Markle on a walkabout in Chester
Last year the Duchess said “not many people have asked if I’m OK” in what seemed to be a veiled swipe at the family.
This year, her lawyers said in court documents that Meghan felt “unprotected” by the Royal Family, because she was not allowed to respond to criticism of her in the press.
Yet, the royals have always insisted they warmly welcomed Harry’s wife into the fold and this is evidenced by the fact the Queen took her on this unprecedented trip so soon after her wedding, a gesture even Kate did not get.
Indeed, Mr Myers said earlier this year: “When we think about the Queen’s statements when they were preparing to leave the Royal Family, I always thought they were very, very heartfelt.
Meghan and the Queen getting out of a car
“I’ve spoken before about how the word ‘family’ was used eight times, the Queen said how impressed she’d been with Meghan, how she’d welcomed her into the family.
“I think we’d seen that when they were on their first ever engagement together in Chester.”
There are a number of eerie similarities between Princess Diana and Meghan Markle, mostly centring around the fact that they are both glamorous outsiders who captured the public’s imagination, but struggled in the Royal Family because they wanted to do things differently.
In The Crown season four, Princess Diana, played by Emma Corrin, goes to the Queen to implore her to show her “love and approval”.
Meghan stands behind the Queen as she greets people
She argues that the Queen is the “captain of the team” and if she does this, then the others will follow suit.
In the Netflix drama, the Queen, played by Olivia Colman, shrugs off Diana’s request.
This interaction is noteworthy in the sense that when it came to Meghan, the Queen was clearly demonstrating her approval with the Chester trip.
While The Crown is a work of fiction, it is based on real events, and highlights the potential disparity between how the Queen acted towards Diana in the Eighties and how she tried to do better with Meghan.
Unfortunately, Meghan was still deeply unhappy and she and Harry stepped down as senior royals at the end of March.
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