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‘More Than Just the Meal.’ Meghan Markle Emphasizes the Power of Food in First Royal Speech

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In her first public speech as a member of the royal family, Meghan Markle celebrated the release of her charity cookbook: Together: Our Community Cookbook.

Speaking without notes at Thursday’s Kensington Palace launch event, the Duchess of Sussex gushed over the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen, a group of displaced Londoners who came together to cook for their families and neighbors in the wake of last year’s Grenfell Tower fire. The cookbook includes over 50 recipes from the Hubb chefs.

“Working on this project for the past nine months has been a tremendous labor of love,” Markle said. “I just recently moved to London and I felt so immediately embraced by this kitchen—your warmth and kindness, and also to be able to be in this city and to see in this one small room how multicultural it was.”

Markle went on to emphasize the power that food can have in people’s lives.

“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’s the story behind it,” she said. “When we get to know the story of the recipe, you get to know the person behind it. 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.”

Both Prince Harry and Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, were also in attendance to support Markle’s first solo charity project as a royal.

Prince Harry was even right there by her side for a human moment.

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com