Meghan Markle recorded a secret voice message to a fan who has been bravely battling a brain tumour and got her husband Prince Harry to play it to her during an official engagement.
The Duchess of Sussex has been chatting to 14-year-old Aleyna Genc for about two years after the schoolgirl wrote to her saying she had been inspired by one of her speeches.
Ahead of Harry’s visit to Nottingham Academy to mark World Mental Health Day , Meghan recorded a message on Harry’s phone and during the engagement the Duke asked to see Aleyna privately to play it to her.
Aleyna, who has had several operations to remove a brain tumour, said: “I’ve been lettering with Meghan for around two years now and she sent me a little voicemail and I listened to that.
“I just sent her a letter because she made a speech and that was the one that really inspired me – her UN women’s speech.”
Aleyna presented Harry with a toy dog for baby Archie during their meeting, and he told her he hadn’t been getting much sleep over the past few days because of his baby boy.
Harry was at the school to meet young people at community projects aimed at improving mental well-being.
He joked that exams are “the best time of year”, before quickly adding “not really”.
He was introduced to a reluctant readers’ group at Nottingham Academy and was greeted by a therapy dog.
The black Labradoodle, called Barney, received a fish block treat from Harry, which was handed to him by the dog’s owner and deputy head of house, Claire Iwanekjo.
The royal visitor quipped: “He’s going to have fish breath for the rest of the day. Great.”
The duke chatted with Year 8 pupils in a Nurture session run by Epic Partners.
The duke told one pupil that “exams are not much fun”, but added that he was sure the teenagers were “right on top of it”.
Harry remarked to one student, who was working on a piece about pop singer Michael Jackson, that “everybody wants to know how to Moonwalk”.
He also met a pupil he had spoken to a previous visit to the school, who told him she was now confident enough to tell somebody if she had a problem after working in the Nurture sessions.