Meghan Markle Sends an Encouraging Voicemail to Her Longtime Pen Pal

The duchess and 14-year-old student Aleyna Genc have been writing to each other for two years.

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In addition to meeting youth involved in mental health community initiatives, Prince Harry had another mission during his Thursday visit to Nottingham Academy: relay a special voice message from Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to her longtime pen pal.

The pen pal in question is 14-year-old Aleyna Genc, a Nottingham Academy student who has been writing to and receiving letters from the duchess for two years, according to Nottingham Post (opens in new tab). Genc, who underwent protein beam therapy after battling a brain tumor during her childhood, felt compelled to write to Meghan after the duchess made a speech at the UN (opens in new tab), per the outlet.

"I wanted to tell her that she had inspired me and so I sent her a letter. We have been sending letters back and forth ever since then," Genc told the Post.

Upon meeting Prince Harry, Genc presented the duke with a toy dog for baby Archie. "He said thank you and that he loved it," she said to Press Association. "He said he would love it because he hasn't been able to sleep because of Archie for the past few days."

Afterwards, according to the Post, Prince Harry guided Genc away from the crowd in order to relay a special voicemail from Meghan. Genc told the publication, "I have been sending Meghan letters for around two years now and she sent me a voice note which I got to listen to on Harry's phone. She basically wished me well."

Of meeting the Duke of Sussex, she also added, "It was amazing. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I have already got to do it. He hugged me at the end too. He is so different to what I expected."

Earlier that day, Prince Harry teamed up with pop singer Ed Sheeran to raise awareness about World Mental Health Day. The Duke of Sussex is a longtime advocate for mental health issues and wellness.

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Chelsey Sanchez
Chelsey Sanchez

Chelsey Sanchez is the Associate Social Media and News Editor for Harper’s BAZAAR, where she covers politics, social movements, and pop culture. She lives in New York City.