Meghan Markle is still in learning mode — and on Thursday, her nerves and lack of experience with the minutiae of royal protocol were evident to observers as she first arrived in Cheshire, England, for her big day out with the Queen.
As the pair prepared to get into Queen Elizabeth‘s waiting Bentley after disembarking from the royal train, there was a moment of confusion as Meghan appeared unsure who should get into the car first. Fortunately, the 92-year-old monarch smoothly guided her through.
“What is your preference?” she asked the Queen.
“You go first,” the monarch said. “Oh, okay,” said the new Duchess of Sussex, who is making her first visit to the north of England.
“I’m very happy to be here,” Meghan told the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs.
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Meghan, 36, has other key support during today’s outing, including new aide Samantha Cohen and right-hand woman Amy Pickerill. Cohen, a former aide to Queen Elizabeth, “will represent [Meghan’s’] voice both internally and externally and fight her battles,” a source previously told PEOPLE.
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Joining the Queen at the opening of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge over the Mersey River, Meghan commented, “It’s a magnificent bridge,” before watching a dance performance by local school children celebrating 1,000 years of crossings over the river.
“It’s been a massive treat — a massive buzz for us all,” says Andrew Curphey, whose theater company brought together 80 children from nine local schools for the performance.
“They both wanted to talk,” Curphey says of the Queen and the Duchess. “The best hit was just before they left. Meghan turned back to me and said, ‘The children did great by the way.’
“She was really calm considering it was her first official engagement with the boss. She is with the boss, so no pressure!”