Schoolboy says 'sorry Harry' after hugging Duchess of Sussex in her surprise school visit

Rebecca Taylor
Royal Correspondent

The schoolboy who hugged the Duchess of Sussex has said sorry to Prince Harry, adding he “hopes he didn’t mind” that he embraced the royal’s wife.

Aker Okoye leapt to the stage on Friday when Meghan challenged “one brave young man” to speak about what International Women’s Day meant to them.

He gave the duchess a hug and cheekily said: “She really is beautiful innit.”

Now the 16-year-old student has admitted he was embarrassed when he realised the moment was filmed, and has written to Prince Harry.

Read more: Duchess of Sussex marked International Women's Day in Dagenham

Meghan embraced the teenager as he took on her challenge. (Reuters)

In a letter published in The Sun, he wrote: “I hope you didn’t mind me cuddling your wife.

“It was a pleasure to hear her speech and to speak in front of her as well.”

Appearing on Good Morning Britain, he told Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid: “I was really embarrassed when I first saw it.

“I thought ‘Oh god they recorded it!’”

Asked about going in for a long hug, Aker said “Of course” and added: “Sorry Harry!”

The teenager described Meghan as “amazing person".

“She was really humble and down to earth,” he said. “I was just flabbergasted, it was an amazing moment.

“It was one of those moments that I will cherish for the rest of my life... and to see that she is more than a pretty face, she is an amazing person, strong, committed and really inspirational.”

Meghan made a surprise visit to the school in Dagenham. (Getty Images)
Meghan opened her arms to hug the student when he came onto the stage. (Reuters)

Read more: International Women's Day: The Royal Family's most feminist moments

Speaking about his letter, he told The Sun: “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.”

Meghan joined the schoolchildren in making the each for equal hand sign. (Getty Images)

Read more: Duke and Duchess of Sussex get standing ovation at Mountbatten Festival of Music

He also wished the pair good luck for the future and said he hoped to meet Harry one day.

There were reports over the weekend that Aker had kissed the duchess, but subsequent footage of the moment, from the other angle, showed the pair just hugged.

Speaking to The Sun on Sunday after the moment, Aker had said: “She didn’t seem to mind me kissing her and saying she was beautiful. She laughed, along with the whole school.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in the UK making their final appearances as senior members of the royal family.

Harry and Meghan attended the Mountbatten Festival of Music in London. (Getty Images)

The duchess visited Robert Clack School in Dagenham in secret on Friday, to take part in events focussed on International Women’s Day.

It was all kept under wraps until late Saturday evening, after the royal pair attended the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall.

On Sunday, numerous photos and videos were released about the visit on the Sussex Royal instagram.

Harry and Meghan’s latest royal engagements have not all been appearing on the court circular, where events attended by members of the family are usually listed once they have taken place.

Their final engagement will be the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on Monday afternoon.

It’s thought they will return to Canada, where they have been living since before Christmas, ahead of the end of their time as senior royals on 31 March.