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A schoolgirl from Nottingham has been left stunned after receiving an official invitation to the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle later this month.
Leonora Ncomanzi, 13, revealed she was ‘speechless’ when she found out the news and has already chosen her dress for the big day.
She is among the 1,200 ‘ordinary heroes’, young leaders and community stalwarts from ‘every corner of the UK’ invited by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to the royal wedding in Windsor on May 19.
Leonora first met Prince Harry, 33, and Suits actress Meghan when they visited Nottingham Academy in December last year.
It was the couple’s first official royal visit together after announcing the news of their engagement, and Leonora clearly left an impression on Meghan, 36, as the former actress promised to come back and visit her in the near future.
And it seems Meghan kept her word as she paid Leonora a secret – and private – visit earlier this year and gave the youngster some acting tips.
Palace officials then followed this up with two tickets to the royal wedding. Leonora will attend with her deputy principal Helen Foulger.
‘When I found out that I was invited to the wedding, I was speechless. I am so excited,’ Leonora said.
‘When my mum was told I was invited she screamed for five minutes. Meghan is such an inspiration to me – the first time I met her I asked her if she had any advice for me as I want to be an actress like her.’
Leonora continued: ‘She said I should always be prepared to face rejection but to keep following my dreams. I can’t wait to see what she is wearing on the day. I have already bought my dress too.’
The youngster is a member of Full Effect, which is supported by the Royal Foundation.
The organisation helps deter children and young people from becoming involved in youth violence and crime through mentorship and training.
Speaking about when she first met the royal couple, Leonora explained: ‘They don’t speak to us like they’re royalty, they speak to us like we’re friends.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose for a photograph with the cast of a ‘hip hop opera’ performed by young people involved in the Full Effect programme at the Nottingham Academy school
‘I’m looking forward to the wedding a lot – I can’t wait to see Meghan again.’
Back in February, Prince Harry and Meghan announced their plans to make their special day a ‘people’s wedding’ by inviting 2,640 members of the public along.
They will take their place in the grounds of Windsor Castle and will be the first to see the newlyweds start their carriage procession through Windsor.
Kensington Palace previously said: ‘Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markle have said they want their wedding day to be shaped so as to allow members of the public to feel part of the celebrations too.
‘This wedding, like all weddings, will be a moment of fun and joy that will reflect the characters and values of the bride and groom.’
Words by Kirsty McCormack