Being a school head boy confers a number of privileges but nothing prepared Nigerian-born 16 year old Aker Okoye for what transpired in his school a few weeks ago. An innocent hug and a kiss catapulted the starry-eyed teenager of Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham on the outskirts of London into a global celebrity. And why not? The recipient of his warm embrace was an unsuspecting and flustered Duchess of Sussex and wife of Prince Harry, Meghan Merkel herself!
As part of activities celebrating the 2020 International Women’s Day, Meghan was hosting an event at Aker’s school and had challenged the male attendees to step out and say something in support of womenfolk. It took more than just bold courage for the young Okoye to mount the stage and pronounce his own mother, Shorell, as a heroine for the care she showers on him and his siblings.He admitted that he opted to get on stage and talk about International Women’s Day because he felt women’s rights had been ‘under looked’ over the years.According to him; ‘My mum is a hero, she takes care of me and my three brothers, she isn’t just a mum and she has a life as well, which is usually a stereo type, she is an athlete, she plays netbair.Short speech over, Aker Okoye turned to an obviously impressed Meghan Merkle, grabbed a hug and then dared a kiss!
Despite the rapturous applause that followed that fleeting moment in time, his father is less than amused and promised to call Aker to order.
Speaking to The Sun, Erick Okoye, 42, reacted thus after learning that his son had stolen a kiss from Meghan.
‘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!’ Perhaps in a bid to mitigate his” less than noble” act, Aker quickly wrote a touching letter to Prince Harry and Meghan.
Dear Harry and Meghan,
Harry, hope you don’t mind me writing this letter. I hope you didn’t mind me cuddling your wife.
I was just overwhelmed and shocked to see her at my school. It was a pleasure to hear her speech and to speak in front of her as well.
She is truly inspirational. I nearly met you last year when you came to East London to open the future youth zone but I was away with the school.
I hope to meet you one day. Good luck and best for the future.
With kind regards,
Since the his chance meeting with Meghan, Aker has become much of a celebrity and has appeared on a number of high profile interviews including one hosted by Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britiain. When Piers jokingly told Aker that his ego would be huge after the encounter with Meghan, Aker quickly claimed: ‘I’m not sure if I’ll fit in the door when I get back to school’.
Speaking about his speech, Piers joked that Aker decided to start with a one liner. He opened with: ‘She really is beautiful innit’. A line which made everyone cheer in the crowd. Piers asked Aker what it meant for the black community to have Meghan marry Prince Harry.
‘I think it shows we are present and shows us as a caucus, as a group and as a race, it gives us hope and a little bit of drive as well.’Piers said it had been a ‘human moment’ and asked what Meghan had told the youngster after his joke.
Aker: ‘She said it was ‘very well said”. He then admitted he had penned a handwritten apology to Prince Harry for hugging his wife. Watching it back, Aker said he was really embarrassed. ‘I didn’t want to cause any more controversy, there was an Instagram comment on a post I was on which said if I’m dead in the next six months then we know who’s sent the hit out, so I thought I better cover myself.
The teenage Nigerian school head boy concludes with his honest views about the Duchess of Sussex; “She is an amazing person. I was flabbergasted – it was an amazing moment. It was one of those moments that I will cherish for the rest of my life. She is more than a pretty face she is strong committed and I was privileged to be in her presence” And on womenfolk, Aker says ‘I was passionate about recognising the strong women in my personal life and giving them recognition, because what I have realised, I am studying history – even my history teacher is a female, what I have realised from looking back is that women’s rights and women’s struggles have always been a talking point”.