Meghan Markle Hugs School Head Boy While Marking International Women's Day on Solo Trip

On Friday, March 6, 2020, Duchess Meghan went to visit Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham. She met and hugged a teenager while commemorating International Women’s Day.

Two days before International Women’s Day, Duchess Meghan went to visit a school in East London where she gave a surprise appearance and met a cheeky teenager. While giving a speech at the school, Meghan called on any “brave young man” who wanted to share what International Women’s Day meant to them.   

Aker Okoye, 16, the head boy at the school was chosen and he went up on stage to make his speech. The teenager started off his address by saying: “She really is beautiful, innit.”

Duchess Meghan on stage during The Fashion Awards In Partnership With Swarovski on December 10, 2018, in London, England | Photo: Tristan Fewings/BFC/Getty Images

Duchess Meghan on stage during The Fashion Awards In Partnership With Swarovski on December 10, 2018, in London, England | Photo: Tristan Fewings/BFC/Getty Images

Student speaks in front of Meghan

His fellow classmates applauded with excitement at the statement and Meghan laughed while wagging her finger at him. The cheeky Okoye lifted his hands in defense jokingly noting that he was crossing a line.

This day means so much to me

After his speech, the young boy also received a hug from the royal, which elicited more cheers and applause in the hall. Speaking to “The Sun” on Sunday night, Okoye explained why he’d chosen to speak when Meghan made the call saying:

“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."

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50 years ago, women in Britain won the right to equal pay. That monumental moment began with one courageous and inspiring group of women in a factory in Dagenham, England. In 1968, facing a pay settlement that declared them less skilled than men, the sewing machinists of the Ford Motor Company walked out on strike. In the face of great pressure, they stood firm, and two years later the UK Parliament was forced to pass the Equal Pay Act, protecting and supporting working women ever since. To mark International Women’s Day, The Duchess of Sussex visited Dagenham to meet with Geraldine Dear, one of the strikers, and spend time with students at the Robert Clack Upper School to meet the town’s next generation of female role models, and talk to young women and men about the women who inspire them. • “Being in Dagenham is incredibly profound. Because as you can see with Geraldine and the other women who had the strength to really stand up for something that they knew needed to be done. This is the best example of no matter how small you might feel, how low you may feel on the ladder or the totem pole, no matter what colour you are, no matter what gender you are, you have a voice, and you certainly have the right to speak up for what is right.” - The Duchess of Sussex A lifetime advocate and campaigner for gender equity, The Duchess joined a special assembly to celebrate this remarkable local story, as well as recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of all women around the world. #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2020 #EachForEqual Photo © The Duke and Duchess of Sussex / Chris Allerton

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The Duchess is down-to-earth

The teenager revealed that they heard rumors some “big name” would be visiting their school on Friday but none of them expected the Duchess. He described Meghan as being “lovely and down-to-earth.”

Meghan’s last solo event

The visit to the school was the last solo engagement for the Duchess of Sussex as a working member of the Royal Family. The school was chosen by Meghan because the area was where a group of women machinists sparked a famous revolution at the nearby Ford car factory.

Harry & Meghan at All Saints Chapel

The women marched to demand equal pay, and the revolution was also turned into a feature film. On Sunday, Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, attended the All Saints Chapel in Windsor Great Park.

Harry’s last engagement as a captain

The event marked Harry’s final engagement as Captain-General of the Royal Marines. The occasion also happened to be the first time Meghan and the Queen have seen each other since she and her husband announced their plans to step down as senior royals in January 2020.

The couple is visiting the UK for a series of final engagements which are set to officially end on March 31.

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