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‘I had to speak the truth there’: Teenage boy calls Meghan Markle ‘beautiful’ during London school visit

Duchess of Sussex surprises students with a visit ahead of International Women's Day 

Sarah Young
Sunday 08 March 2020 13:54 GMT
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Student steals kiss from Meghan during surprise visit to London school

The Duchess of Sussex made a surprise visit to a school in London to attend a special assembly ahead of International Women’s Day.

In one of her last solo engagements as a working royal Meghan Markle visited Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham on Friday.

The royal chose Dagenham because it was where female machinists at the Ford Motor Plant held a strike for equal pay in 1968, leading to the Equal Pay Act two years later.

During the assembly, the school remembered the campaigns led by the women which paved the way for future generations before Meghan made a speech about the importance of fighting for equality for all.

During her speech, Meghan addressed the school’s boys in particular, urging them to “continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives and also set the example for some men who are not seeing it that same way”.

“You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends in your life, protect them,” she said.

“Make sure that they are feeling valued and safe and let’s all just rally together to make International Women’s Day something that is not just on Sunday, but frankly feels like every day of the year.”

Meghan then asked: “If there is one brave man in this room who wants to come and say what he thinks the important of International Women’s Day is...”

Aker Okoye, the school’s head boy, was then invited to join the duchess on stage.

16-year-old Aker Okoye was invited to join the duchess on stage (PA)

After shaking hands with Meghan and greeting her with what appeared to be a kiss on the cheek, the 16-year-old student joked: “She really is beautiful, innit. I had to speak the truth there” prompting laughter from both his classmates and the former Suits actor and model who praised his “incredible confidence”.

The student later said: “I really am inspired that the Duchess of Sussex could even come down today and be with us and talk about how much the day of International Women’s Day means to us and how much it means to her.”

During her visit, Meghan also met with students in the school’s library where she was told about how they had been studying influential female writers and poets.

Aker Okoye greeted the duchess with a kiss on the cheek and told the audience that she was ‘beautiful’ (PA)

Meghan said: “It’s so important to have a role model; often times when it’s someone who looks like you or comes from where you come from, it’s easier to connect and see in a different way.”

Meghan later visited the school’s art studio, where she was made an honorary member of the Robert Clack Debate Society and awarded a team jersey.

After listening to some members of the team advocate for their future careers as lawyers and gynaecologists, Meghan said: “It’s incredibly impressive and I’m just so proud to be able to witness so much of this activism and this energy in this room.

“It’s how we’re going to see the impact in the world that we need, it’s all of your voices as you said and being able to feel empowered.”

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