Schoolboy who hugged Meghan says it is a moment he will ‘cherish’

The teenager who got a hug from the Duchess of Sussex after telling a delighted audience of schoolmates “She’s really beautiful innit?” said it was a moment he will “cherish” for the rest of his life.

Aker Okoye said he was was “really embarrassed” when he realised his cheeky comment had been recorded.

The 16-year-old made the remark when Meghan visited the Robert Clack School in Dagenham, east London, where he is head boy, on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.

The smiling duchess then told him he was “very brave” and his comments were “very well said”, he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

The teenager, who has sent an apology to the Duke of Sussex for cuddling his wife, joked: “I did not want to cause any more controversy.”

He wrote the note after he was pictured hugging Meghan on stage during the school visit.

Aker told the programme he had been “flabbergasted” by the situation, adding: “It was one of those moments I will cherish for the rest of my life – to see that she is more than a pretty face and that she is actually an amazing person who is strong, committed and inspirational.”

Duchess of Sussex visit to Robert Clack school
The Duchess of Sussex embraces head boy Aker Okoye during her visit to the Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham, east London (Ben Stansall/PA)

On what it meant as a black teenager to see Meghan, the first person of mixed heritage to marry into the royal family, he said: “I think it shows that we are present.

“I think it goes to show that us a caucus, as a group and a race, that we are present in this country so much so that we can come in from another place.

“I feel as if that gives us hope and gives us a little bit of drive.”

The teenager is taking 11 GCSEs and is thinking of a career as a design engineer or in the performing arts.

He said it had been important to be part of International Women’s Day to “recognise the strong women” in his life, including his mother and his teachers.

Duchess of Sussex visit to Robert Clack school
Meghan listens to a student reciting a poem to pupils at the Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham, east London (Ben Stansall/PA)

In his letter, published in the Sun, Aker also said he hoped to meet Harry one day, and wished the couple “good luck for the future” as they step back from senior royal duties.

Addressing the duke, he said: “I hope you didn’t mind me cuddling your wife”, adding: “It was a pleasure to hear her speech and to speak in front of her as well.”

He told the newspaper: “I’ve written the letter to make sure Harry doesn’t have a problem with it and to say sorry really and that I hope he didn’t mind.

“Meghan didn’t – she found it funny and I’m sure Harry will as well.

“When she asked which brave young man wanted to do a talk I jumped at the chance.

“I leapt up there. I thought it would be proper protocol to give her a cuddle.

“It’s all a blur.”

Harry and Meghan are due to take part in their last scheduled engagement on Monday when they attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey alongside other senior members of the royal family.

They will begin their new life as financially independent royals on March 31.

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