PRINCE Harry got a big hug from a schoolgirl yesterday after sharing a special message from Meghan.
Aleyna Genc, 14, has been exchanging letters with the Duchess of Sussex for two years while undergoing treatment for a brain tumour. And Aleyna beamed as Harry, 35, played her the voicemail during his visit to the Nottingham Academy. She first met the Duke and Duchess in December 2017 when they toured the city for their first joint royal engagement as a couple. Aleyna, who also gave Harry a toy dog for his baby son Archie, said afterwards: “Wow. Just wow.”
The teenager started writing to Meghan following a speech she made, adding: “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. We have been lettering ever since.”
She also said Harry thanked her for the toy dog, which is from the Pets as Therapy charity.
Aleyna revealed: “He said he would love it because he hasn’t been able to sleep because of Archie for the past few days.”
Harry, who has made many trips to Nottingham since 2013 to support projects helping troubled young people, visited the school and a community arts centre to mark World Mental Health Day.
The Duke gave pupils at the academy a pep talk on how to handle their emotions and told how exam stress was a distant memory for him.
“I am old and crusty,” he quipped.
“It’s all a long time ago.”
Aleyna Genc gave Prince Harry a toy dog for his baby son Archie (Image Eamonn M. McCormack Getty Images)
The Duke has a giggle with students at the Nottingham Academy (Image Eamonn M. McCormack Getty Images)
Harry sat with one group of Year 8 pupils in a nurture session run by Epic Partners, a charity he supports through the Royal Foundation which he set up with his brother William.
He was also introduced to a reluctant readers group at the academy and was greeted by therapy dog Barney, who helps the youngsters overcome their lack of confidence.
After the dog’s owner and deputy head of house Claire Iwanekjo handed a Harry a fish doggy treat, the Duke fed Barney and joked that he would “have fish breath for the rest of the day”.
Later he watched young people from the inner-city St Ann’s district perform a 10-minute scene from a “hip hopera” at the city’s Community Recording Studio.
Its chief executive Trevor Rose said Harry’s support had changed lives, provided jobs and brought in funding.
Mr Rose said: “When he walked in the first time, he asked: ‘How can I help you to help yourselves?’ And that’s what we’ve done.
“He’s helped us so much. He’s been like a big brother.”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK