Meghan Markle’s interaction with a British schoolboy days before she quit Britain went viral on TikTok after he joked while onstage with her: “She really is beautiful.”
The Duchess of Sussex got a kiss on the cheek from Aker Okoye, then 16, after she invited a “brave young man” to come on stage and speak about International Women’s Day.
The teenager sparked laughter from his fellow pupils at Robert Clack School, in Dagenham, east London, in March 2020.
At the time, Meghan was days away from leaving Britain with Prince Harry for a new life in America following the breakdown of relations with the royal family and palace.
Footage went newly viral after it was posted on TikTok with the message: “I don’t think anyone will ever be as smooth as this guy.”
The post earned 434,000 likes after it was viewed 4 million times and one reply suggested Okoye: “Read the room and quickly understood the assignment.”
The moment triggered a wave of news stories at the time and Okoye later told U.K. newspaper The Sun on Sunday: “I had to stand up. I thought, ‘This day means so much to me, it would be an insult for me not to speak.’ My heart was racing.”
“There were rumors a big name was visiting, but nobody expected Meghan,” he added.
“It was incredible. She was lovely and down-to-earth. She didn’t seem to mind me kissing her and saying she was beautiful. She laughed, along with the whole school.”
He was a bit more shy when he initially described the interaction to his father Erick Okoye who later told the newspaper: “He casually told us Meghan had been at the school. He said she was very friendly, and that he’d done a speech too.
“But he never told me he kissed her! I can’t believe it. How cheeky. I hope he didn’t get in trouble. Was she OK about it? I hope so.”
Meghan gave off no outward sign of discomfort after the exchange which came as she gave a speech on female empowerment.
The duchess in her own speech told pupils at the school: “I just encourage and empower each of you to really stand in your truth, to stand for what is right. To continue to respect each other.
“You young men, to continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives. And set the example for some men who are not seeing it that same way.
“You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends. Protect them. Make sure they are feeling valued, and safe.”
William Brown is chief royal correspondent for Regalrumination.com, based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @TheCrownUp and read his stories on Regalrumination.com‘s The Royals Facebook page.
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