Wolverhampton schoolboy Darram’s delight at royal wedding invitation
It was not your ordinary letter. When Wolverhampton schoolboy Darram Kooner checked through his mail, he was amazed to find it included an invite to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding.
Not even the Prime Minister has been invited to the wedding of the year - but the 15-year-old from Wolverhampton will be among privileged guests at Windsor Castle on May 19.
The young campaigner has been recognised for his work with the Wolverhampton Youth Council, highlighting issues close to his heart on racism and mental health that took him all the way to Parliament.
Darram, who lives in Whitmore Reans and will be taking his GCSEs at The Royal School in Penn in the coming weeks, received the invite from the West Midlands Lord Lieutenant who was tasked with finding ordinary people who had made a difference in their community and were worthy of a place at the wedding.
He served as a Wolverhampton Youth MP for two years and spoke in the House of Commons about the importance of tackling racial and religious discrimination.
Like Prince Harry, the teenager is also passionate about awareness of mental health and the need to tackle the stigma around the issue.
He said he was proud to have secured an invite to one of the most talked-about events of the year.
Darram will be in the grounds of Windsor Castle on the big day and will be able to listen to a live broadcast of the ceremony.
The excited teenager said: "My friends and family are ecstatic that I am going to such a privileged event, going to the grounds of Windsor Castle and Prince Harry's wedding.
"It has motivated me to continue my work with mental health. It makes me so happy when my work gets recognition."
"I know Prince Harry has been doing work with Better Together and helping make people aware of mental health.
"I know numerous people who have suffered with mental health issues and it made me want to do something about it."
He added: "Being an Asian person and having lots of Asian friends I'm aware the problem (of racism) is still around. I'm just a person and I have a voice as well."
Darram's father Balraj said the family were overjoyed by the invite.
He said: "We were gobsmacked. We are really proud of him. He does a lot of work in the community and it's all off his own back.
"It's an absolutely massive achievement. I'm amazed he will be there on their special day."
The letter informing him of his invitation said: "I am delighted to confirm you have been nominated by the Lieutenancy of the West Midlands to share in part of the wedding day of HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Ms Meghan Markle.
"As part of a group of 1,200 members of the public who have been nominated on the strength of their contribution to their local community, you are invited to enter the grounds of Windsor Castle, listen to a live broadcast of the wedding service and view the departure of the bride and groom's carriage procession."