"I just recently moved to London and I felt so immediately embraced by this kitchen," Meghan Markle said at her first hosting event as a royal

By Stephanie Petit
September 20, 2018 09:47 AM

Meghan Markle spoke from the heart — and without notes! — while addressing “a tremendous labor of love.”

The Duchess of Sussex gave her first public speech as a member of the royal family on Thursday while hosting an event celebrating the special cookbook she helped create — and she didn’t miss a beat.

Husband Prince Harry and her mom, Doria Ragland (who flew in from L.A. earlier in the week), proudly looked on while Meghan spoke for three minutes about how the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen welcomed her shortly after her move to London.

Meghan Markle
| Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

“Working on this project for the past nine months has been a tremendous labor of love,” the poised royal said in video captured by ITV’s Chris Ship. “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.”

Prince Harry and Doria Ragland applaud Meghan Markle’s speech on Sept. 20, 2018.
| Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

She continued, “On a personal level, I feel so proud to live in this city that can have so much diversity. There’s 12 countries represented in this one group of women. It’s pretty outstanding.”

Meghan noted that this was her “first project,” adding even more meaning to the special occasion.

Prince Harry and Doria Ragland
| Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

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

Meghan Markle at the cookbook launch on Sept. 20, 2018.
| Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

At one point, Prince Harry and Ragland exchanged a smile, clearly proud of Meghan’s work.

Meghan Markle
| Credit: Jenny Zarins/PA Wire/PA Images
Meghan Markle
| Credit: Jenny Zarins/PA Wire/PA Images
  • Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

Meghan, 37, made sure to keep her speech short and sweet so guests could start munching on the feast they had created at the royal couple’s palace home using recipes from the cookbook: Coconut chicken curry, aubergine masala and chapatis.

“I know some have started eating — as you should, I’m the last one who’d want the food to get cold — so please enjoy a beautiful lunch,” the former actress said before asking for another round of applause for the members of the kitchen.

RELATED VIDEO: Meghan Markle Just Made a Surprise Cameo in New Film for the Sweetest Reason

Meghan wrote the foreword for the book, which features recipes from a group of women whose community was affected by the Grenfell Tower fire in which more than 70 people died. Proceeds from the cookbook will help the kitchen to stay open, and enable it to widen its reach to others in the community and beyond.