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In surprise school visit, Meghan tells schoolboys to honour women

The Duchess of Sussex is greeted by pupils at the Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham, Essex. Source: AFP Pool

The Duchess of Sussex made a surprise visit to a school to deliver an International Women's Day message to men to "value the women in your lives".

The Duchess of Sussex has made a surprise visit to a school to deliver an International Women's Day message to men to "value the women in your lives".

In one of her last solo engagements as a working royal, Meghan spoke with delighted pupils at the Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham, east London, and met one of the women who fought a historic equal pay battle in the nearby Ford car plant.

In a speech addressing the school's boys in particular, she urged them to "continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives and also set the example for some men who are not seeing it that same way.

The Duchess of Sussex (left) embraces head boy Aker Okoye.
The Duchess of Sussex (left) embraces head boy Aker Okoye.
AFP Pool

"You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends in your life, protect them," she said.

"Make sure that they are feeling valued and safe and let's all just rally together to make International Women's Day something that is not just on Sunday, but frankly feels like every day of the year."

Meghan also marked the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act on her visit to the school.

Her choice of location was noteworthy as strikes in the 1960s by female sewing machinists at the nearby Ford Motor Plant triggered the passing of the legislation. That struggle was depicted in the 2010 film Made in Dagenham.

The Duchess of Sussex (left) smiles as head boy Aker Okoye, speaks in a school assembly.
The Duchess of Sussex (left) smiles as head boy Aker Okoye, speaks in a school assembly.
AFP Pool

The Duchess of Sussex later asked for a male volunteer to explain their view on the importance of International Women's Day.

Head boy Aker Okoye, 16, jumped at the chance to take to the stage.

Greeting her with what appeared to be a kiss on the cheek, he told his fellow pupils: "She really is beautiful. I had to speak the truth there."

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