The Duchess of Sussex is joining the Queen on board the Royal Train this evening for their overnight journey to Cheshire.
Meghan, who is performing her first engagement without Prince Harry tomorrow, is leaving her husband for the first time since their wedding in May.
The monarch has invited Meghan to accompany her for a day of engagements on Thursday and MailOnline understands that, given the distances involved, the train will set off on Wednesday, arriving at Runcorn Station on Thursday morning.
While the Queen always tends to make long distance journeys on her train overnight, it will be quite the eye-opener for her new grand-daughter-in-law.
The locomotive consists of nine carriages in total, however, these are often reduced to seven depending on the number of people travelling, and Her Majesty is said to described it as one of the few places where she can relax in total privacy.
At over 150 years old it is the only private, non-commercial train service catering to one family still in operation in the UK and these photos offer a rare glimpse into Britain’s most exclusive railway service.
Royal sleepover! Meghan will stay on board the Royal train (pictured) this evening alongside the monarch who has invited Meghan to accompany her for a day of engagements on Thursday
The pair, who were last seen together at Trooping of the colour, set off this evening arriving at Runcorn Station on Thursday morning
Her Majesty’s personal saloon is 75ft long and fitted with secondary air suspension giving passengers an exceptionally smooth and comfortable ride.
It has a bedroom, decorated in light pastel shades, with a 3ft-wide single bed in one corner (there are no double beds on the Royal Train) made up with cotton sheets and woollen blankets.
While Prince Philip’s pillows are plain, the Queen’s are trimmed with lace, with a small Royal cipher in one corner. The ceiling has subdued strip lighting and there are several reading lamps near the bed.
The adjoining bathroom has a full-size bath, but the fittings are modest and functional.
The train operators make sure the carriages are not crossing any bumpy points just after 7.30am: that could make the water slop around when the Queen is taking her bath. The train’s speed is always lower than the normal maximum for any route.
Stunning photographs reveal the plush interior of the royal train through the ages. Pictured: The royal carriage built in 1869 for Queen Victoria (1819-1901) by the London and North Western Railway at their Wolverton Works in Buckinghamshire
This royal carriage was built for Edward VII by London and North Western Railway and was known as the smoking carriage where the family would retire after dinner
While the train is fitted with several sleeper carriages the locomotive never travels through the night, instead making stops at secret locations away from the mainline so that the royal passengers can sleep uninterrupted. Pictured: Edward VII’s sleeper
The sitting room has a sofa with hand-stitched velvet cushions, armchairs and the small dining table where the Queen and Prince Philip have breakfast.
The table can be extended to seat six people. There is also a desk in one corner where Her Majesty works on her official papers.
Although she has enjoyed several meetings with the Queen and spent time with her at Windsor Castle, the overnight journey will be unprecedented for Meghan.
It will provide the queen for a chance to spend some ‘quality time’ with Harry’s new bride, with relatively few interruptions.
The Royal Saloon built by East Coast Joint Stock built in 1908 and used by Edward VII (1841-1910) and later Queen Mary (1867-1953) features elaborate decoration and a writing desk
The dining car (picture taken in 1966) once featured elaborate wood paneling and the table is impeccably laid out ahead of the royal’s dinner
Last year royals travelled on the distinctive liveried train just 14 times at a cost of £900,000 to taxpayers.
Buckingham Palace officials admit it is expensive, but say the Queen, 92, finds it more comfortable to use on overnight on long-distance journeys.
The train came into existence during the reign of Queen Victoria who was the first reigning sovereign to make a train journey when she travelled from Slough to Paddington, London, on June 13, 1842.
In 1869 she commissioned a special pair of coaches at a cost of £1,800: a considerable sum in those days. Victoria remains to this day the only monarch to have paid with her own money for Royal carriages to be built.
When her son succeeded to the throne as Edward VII, he ordered a completely new Royal Train in the second year of his reign, 1902, with the instructions that ‘it is to be as much like the Royal Yacht as possible’.
A photo of the Prince of Wales’s Lounge on the royal train taken in 2001 demonstrates how the train is modernised to reflect changing tastes and trends
The table is set in the dining room in this photo, taken back in 2006, and shows that the train has received a simpler makeover through the years
The train also features an office for Her Majesty (pictured in 2002) to conduct her work while travelling
Chairs are situated in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Carriage aboard the royal train taking on a neutral interior colour scheme
The interior had bedrooms, dressing rooms, day rooms and a smoking room. It boasted three-speed electric fans, electric radiators and cookers and even an electric cigar lighter.
The King’s favourite was his smoking room, which was manned by two liveried footmen, one just to light His Majesty’s cigars and the other to adjust the curtains and windows in case the sunlight was too strong, or fresh air was required.
His son and successor, George V, had the distinction of installing the first bath on a train anywhere in the world.
While Queen Victoria’s was the first train in the world to have a lavatory installed on board – in 1850, at the suggestion of Prince Albert – only the Prince Consort used it in the early days of Royal progress. Members of the entourage who invariably accompanied the Queen had to wait until the train stopped and then use public lavatories.
While the train is fitted with several sleeper carriages the locomotive never travels through the night, instead making stops at secret locations away from the mainline so that the royal passengers can sleep uninterrupted.
The overnight stops are usually made about an hour’s travelling time from the final destination. This means the Royals are able to rise, bathe, dress, have a leisurely breakfast and then be briefed by their private secretary on the day’s programme as the train completes its journey. Arrivals are usually timed so that they do not disrupt any normal rail schedules.
The appearance of the Queen’s current saloon is a long way from the velvet interiors and plush furnishings of carriages of the Victorian era.
Meghan – pictured with Harry after their Windsor wedding – will ride with the Queen on the royal train, and the MailOnline can reveal that the pair are expected to travel overnight
Harry and Meghan will finally appear on the balcony where Kate and William famously shared this kiss after their April 2011 wedding (pictured)