MEGHAN Markle is to ditch Prince Harry for the first time to do a royal engagement today – and will be even have a sleepover with the Queen.
The royal pair will spend tonight on the luxury Royal Train as they travel to Cheshire for Thursday morning.
Getty – Pool Meghan Markle is to do her first public engagement without Prince Harry – and will be joining the Queen in Cheshire
The swish Royal Train has nine carriages and Meghan will stay in one of the ensuite bedrooms, and dine in the 12-seater dining room.
The trip is a huge honour for Meghan as it is understood that even Prince Harry and Kate Middleton have not had a ride onboard.
Typically a London to Runcorn train journey takes around two hours, but the prestigious sleeper train travels a lot slower than the high-speed alternatives.
The pair have opted for the Royal Train as the Queen is said to prefer making long-distance journeys overnight, instead of waking up early morning.
PA:Press Association Meghan and the Queen will travel by the Royal Train overnight, and wake up in Cheshire on Thursday morning
Getty – Pool The Queen sits at her desk on the Royal Train
Alamy The first stop on the tour will be opening the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Widnes
Meghan will get plenty of quality time with her new grandmother-in-law, before officially opening the Mersey Gateway Bridge in Widnes and the Storyhouse cultural centre in Chester.
The royal pair will watch a performance by a dance company called Fallen Angels, which runs for recovering addicts.
Next on the agenda is a medley of songs from the Storyhouse’s latest production A Little Night Music, and then they will see local schoolkids perform songs with actors from Swallows and Amazons.
They will also enjoy a slap-up lunch at Chester Town Hall to conclude their outing together.
Alamy Next they will head to Chester where they will visit the Storyhouse cultural centre
Alamy The Storyhouse is a library, theatre and cinema and one of the country’s most successful cultural buildings, with one million visits in its first year
The Royal Train launched in 1942 when Queen Victoria was on the throne and even puts the Orient Express to shame with its stunning smoking room with ornate gold fittings.
Described as “Buckingham Palace on wheels”, the sumptuous train was brought into service because Victoria disliked travelling by coach.
Since then the Royal family have used it for extended holidays around the country, and they travel in style – as do their staff.
Getty – Contributor The train’s saloon is the epitome of extravagance with its blue and gold theme
Getty – Contributor Edward VII’s smoking room is modelled on traditional gentlemen’s clubs
Getty – Contributor The 12-seater dining room was also commissioned by Edward VII
The Queen’s day quarters were updated in 1977, before Queen Elizabeth embarked on the Silver Jubilee Tour, and the old one, was given to the National Railway Museum.
Meals are cooked by a full kitchen staff and are cooked to the standard expected in the royal palaces and there’s a rota of 150 special drivers who are allowed to take the controls.
The Queen’s private quarters are 75ft long, are covered in plush carpet, feature paintings of Scottish landscapes by Roy Penny and has secondary air suspension to ensure Her Majesty has a smooth ride.
Getty – Contributor This carriage was used by Edward VII
Getty – Contributor Edward and Alexandra wanted this saloon so he could work while she relaxed in the same carriage INSIDE THE ROYAL TRAIN THAT MEGHAN MARKLE WILL TRAVEL ON WITH THE QUEEN
The locomotive is a comfortable and exclusive method of transportation reserved for select members of the royal family.
It first came into use in 1842 under Queen Victoria – who was the first monarch to ride a train – and is composed of nine carriages.
Only the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla are permitted to use the train.
Each carriage has a different function, and their order is rearranged as necessary.
It is rare all nine carriages are used at once, only when The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall accompany the Queen on a trip.
Most of the carriages date back to 1977, when they were used for the Silver Jubilee tours, and are instantly recognisable from the ‘royal claret’ colour.
The carriages feature smoking rooms, a 12-seater dining room, and private carriages for each of the royals.
The Queen’s bathroom even has a full sized tub, and the schedule ensures they do not go around any sharp bends while she relaxes in the suds.
Prince Philip is said to use it as a mobile office, while the nonagenarian is rumoured to be a great fan of the train.
But despite its appearance of lasciviousness, it is said to be fairly modest inside.
There are no double beds on board, and Meghan will spend the night on a 3ft-wide bed that is clad in cotton sheets and woollen blankets.
There is a sitting room, which comes complete with a sofa, velvet cushions, and a small table used by the Queen and Prince Phillip for breakfast.
In 2017, the royals travelled on the Royal Train 14 times, which cost the taxpayer around £900,000.