A FORMER London gang leader who was shot and stabbed as a teen was among the guests who Meghan Markle and Prince Harry tie the knot.
Karl Lokko became close friends with the 33-year-old groom after turning his back on a violent life of crime in the capital.
Mr Lokko, who now works as a community activist, has previously told how he “strayed” as a teen – and was shot and stabbed by the age of 16.
He became mixed up in the wrong crowd, saying that “criminal activity was an everyday thing”.
But the inspirational young Brixton man has turned his life around. – He was among the most influential people in Britain, and the world, at tomorrow’s Royal Wedding.
A source told The Daily Mail: “He may be a boy from Brixton but he has become a really good friend of Harry through their shared passion for youth work.
“The Prince trusts him implicitly and Karl is now on speed dial on Harry’s phone. They regularly text, speak and meet up. Harry thinks he is inspirational.”
While the pair’s friendship has largely flown under the radar, Harry did interview Mr Lokko during his stint guest editing Radio 4’s Today programme last year.
Mr Lokko has previously opened up about his former life and what it was like growing up on the Myatts Field estate, writing in the Guardian: “By the age of 16 I had been shot at, cut on the face and stabbed in the chest, and one of my best friends had been killed, just a couple days before our GCSE exams.”
He added: “I had strayed completely off the path my parents had intended for me.”
He said that he continued down the slippery slope after seeing one of his best friends stabbed – permanently arming himself, first with knives and then with guns.
Mr Lokko, who had been the head of a 40-strong crew called MAD – Mayhem and Disaster – said: “I believed it was kill or be killed.
“I believed drug-dealing was an acceptable way to make a living, I believed a council estate was my territory and the end of my world; I believed there was no hope.”
MAD had become known for mugging people for phones, selling drugs and stealing cars, with Mr Lokko kicked out of sixth form college on his first day.
It wasn’t until his neighbour pastor Mimi Asher stepped in, introducing him to counselling and the Bible, that he was able to change his life and leave the gang life behind.
Mr Lokko, who know volunteers with Youth in Action, said: “I am proof that, with the right support, lives can be turned around.”
The 6ft 5in former gang leader was at the wedding with his wife Cassandra, with the couple expecting their first child.
He was not the only non-royal who attended the ceremony though. Prince Harry and Meghan invited thousands of people who have made positive contributions to their community to their big day.
The couple invited 2,640 members of the public on the day to the Windsor Castle grounds including 1,200 people, who have demonstrated strong leadership in their communities.