Meghan Markle has hit her stride.
It was just days ago that Kensington Palace revealed the new Duchess of Sussex’s first solo charity project: supporting the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London. As the royal explained in a promotional video released on Monday, back in January she met the group of women involved in the community kitchen, who had joined together to cook fresh food for their families and neighbors in the wake of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire.
“For two days every week, these women were able to cook and share their delicious recipes together. I immediately felt connected to this community kitchen. Like these women, I’m passionate about food and cooking as a way of strengthening communities,” Markle explained in a promotional video. “So, I am proud to be supporting this cookbook, Together, which features delicious recipes from the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen. The proceeds will allow the kitchen to stay open and to thrive so it can continue transforming lives and communities through cooking. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.” Proceeds raised from the sale of the cookbook will allow the kitchen to remain open seven days a week.
In honor of the launch of the cookbook, which showcases more than 50 personal recipes from across the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Markle hosted an outdoor reception at Kensington Palace on Thursday with two very special people by her side—her husband, Prince Harry, and her mother, Doria Ragland.
Ragland’s arrival was particularly notable considering the public has not seen her and Meghan together since her daughter’s May wedding and this marks Ragland’s first public engagement since the marriage.
Donning a black turtleneck and skirt layered under a vibrant blue wool coat by Smythe, the duchess looked just as polished as usual as she reunited with the community of women she first met months ago. After lending a hand in the cooking and preparation, Markle and her guests—among them members of the local community, the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Center and representatives from the publishers of the book, Ebury Press—dined together and tasted the homemade dishes featured in the cookbook, including coconut chicken curry, aubergine masala and caramelized plum upside-down cake.
The former actress also delivered 3-minute remarks without the aid of any notes.
“Working on this project for the past nine months has been a tremendous labor of love. I had just recently moved to London and I felt so immediately embraced by the women in the kitchen, your warmth, your kindness and also to be able to be in the city and to see in this one small room how multicultural it was. On a personal level, I feel so proud to live in a city that can have so much diversity. It’s 12 countries represented in this one group of women—it’s pretty outstanding,” she warmly told the crowd.
“I said in the foreword that this is more than a cookbook and what I mean by that is the power of food is more than just the meal itself. It is the story behind it and when you get to know the story of the recipe, you get to know the person behind it and that’s what we’re talking about in terms of coming together to really engage and talk and to be able to celebrate what connects us rather than what divides us. That I believe is the ethos of Together, so to the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen, thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this adventure with you. I’m so privileged to know you,” Markle continued.
“It’s so impactful—we can see just in a few days alone, and the book’s not even out yet, what you’ve been able to do. That’s a testament to what this means to people and I’m so proud of you.,” the royal concluded as her personality shined through. “On that note, I know some of you have started eating—as you should. I’d be the last one to want the food to get cold, so please enjoy a beautiful lunch.”
Needless to say, the event seemed to go seamlessly and Markle demonstrated what a perfect fit she is for her new role as royal.