It must have sound surprising to a woman who is preparing her every public appearance in exquisite detail as 16-year-old Aker Okoye bordered on stage – and immediately went in for a kiss on the cheek.
Aker flung as Sussex’s Duchess grinned and kissed her finger and his fellow pupils at Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham, East London applauded this move.
In particular, after encouraging male pupils to ‘value the women in your life’ and ‘set the precedent for those people who don’t see it the same way,’ and that’s when she called on a ‘brave young man’ to come up on stage to illustrate the meaning of it all – and Meghan found herself upstaged by 16-year-old Aker for one special moment.
He added: ‘ International Women’s Day is a message to everybody that women can do all of this and do everything. That’s more of a greeting for all of you guys. This Sunday might perhaps be the one day we don’t look at women as artifacts.
‘ I just want International Women’s Day to be a reminder for all of us of how strong our culture is with women inside’.
That was Meghan’s last individual engagement as a working member of the Royal Family, and it will be remembered forever for those involved – not least head boy Aker.
Meghan flashed a smile at two of the school’s youngest pupils, Fiona Addai and Harvi Shehi, 11 years old, both of whom seemed shocked as she approached and asked for their names.
The small matter of coronavirus did not deter her in any way. Teachers who met her joked that they were not sure whether a hug or an elbow bump would be given to her. ‘ It’s all right! ‘ She said, with her hand extended.
In an assembly Meghan told about 700 pupils:’ I think it’s incredibly important to be able to be in Dagenham. It is the best example of no matter how insignificant you might feel, how weak you may feel on the ladder or on the totem pole, no matter what color 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.’
Meghan was given a tour of the comprehensive school, wearing black and tan shoes, black trousers, a white blouse, and a tan blazer.
She spoke to Geraldine Precious, one of the women involved in the Dagenham Ford attacks, before taking the stage for the International Women’s Day assembly. Ms Dear said: ‘ She said that meeting me was an honour, and I said it was the other way around. I said girls should have confidence in themselves.
Meghan finally took to the main hall, where her presentation brought gasps of shock before thunderous applause from 700 clearly shocked pupils.
Meghan said to pupils after the second of three standing ovations:’ I thought you knew I was coming so I’m sorry for the surprise. ‘It is such an honor for me to be here today. When we thought about what I wanted to do for International Women’s Day this year, for me it was incredibly important to be with the women of our future.
Shortly before she left the hall to cheer and loud applause, Meghan had taken a photo with the students who posed in an equal sign with their arms in reference to the theme of the International Women’s Day campaign ‘ EachforEqual. ‘