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September 20, 2018 08:26 AM
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Meghan Markle hosted her first palace lunch for a very important cause on Thursday as she launched a special cookbook she helped create

Meghan, 37, was accompanied by husband Prince Harry, 34, and her mom, Doria Ragland (who flew in from L.A. earlier in the week), at the Kensington Palace celebration to mark the publication of Together: Our Community Cookbook

But it was very much her moment. Wearing a black top by Tuxe, a pleated black skirt by her designer pal Misha Nonoo and a bright blue coat by Smythe paired with her go-to Sarah Flint black pumps, Meghan joined the women from the Hubb Community Kitchen and created a meal of coconut chicken curry, aubergine masala and chapatis at the royal couple’s palace home. 

Meghan helped make chapatis and turn koftas on a grill under a large tent on the grounds of Kensington Palace. In a speech to guests, she said the project had been a “tremendous labor of love.”

“I had just recently moved to London and I felt so immediately embraced by the women of the kitchen,” she said. “Your warmth and your kindness, and also to be in this city and see in this one small room how multicultural it was.

Meghan Markle
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty
Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

“I felt, on a personal level, so proud to live in a city that can have so much diversity. That there are 12 countries represented in this one small room, is pretty outstanding.”

Meghan and Harry then sat down with the women and their guests, including those from the local community, the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre and representatives from the book’s publishers Ebury Press to enjoy the freshly-made feast.

BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

As the women and Meghan showcased the recipes in the royal setting, dessert included caramelized plum upside-down cake, and spiced mint tea. 

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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.

Jenny Zarins/PA Wire/PA Images

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In it, she said, the Hubb (which means love in Arabic) “is a place for women to laugh, grieve, cry and cook together.  Melding cultural identities under a shared roof . . . creates a space to feel a sense of normalcy — in its simplest form, the universal need to connect, nurture, and commune through food, through crisis or joy — something we can all relate to.”

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She was inspired to help them after visiting the women in January. In the wake of the June 2017 tragedy, the women had been gathering together to prepare food for their families and neighbors. 

Meghan Markle
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

At the event, Meghan proudly introduced her mother Doria to the inspiring women she has befriended over the year.

Proceeds from the book will help the kitchen to stay open, and enable it to widen its reach to others in the community and beyond. 

BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

Meghan has displayed self-assurance and poise during her first four as a royal — attributes those who know her say come from her mother, Doria.

“Meghan draws a lot of strength from her mother. Doria is classy, chic and confident, but not unapproachable,” Meghan’s longtime friend and makeup artist Daniel Martin previously told PEOPLE. “I definitely feel Meghan gets a lot of that from her mother.”

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