Royals Meghan Markle Opts for Hugs Over Handshakes as Community Kitchen Members Congratulate Her on Baby Members of the Hubb Community Kitchen described Meghan as "so simple and so welcoming" By Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit Stephanie Petit is a Royals Writer and Reporter at PEOPLE. People Editorial Guidelines Published on November 21, 2018 01:29 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Meghan Markle is a hugger! While many royals keep things formal on public engagements by sticking to handshakes, the Duchess of Sussex greeted members of the Hubb Community Kitchen as old friends during her visit on Wednesday. After all, she has been working with the women, whose community was affected by the Grenfell Tower fire in which more than 70 people died last year, for several months and wrote the foreword for a cookbook featuring their recipes to benefit the project. Kitchen coordinator Zaheera Sufyaan met Meghan, 37, outside with a warm embrace. Sufyaan told reporters that the royal has visited the kitchen privately on several occasions and bonded with the women “really well.” “She’s down to earth and she’s come and supported the project. She’s part of the group,” Sufyaan says of Meghan. Meghan Markle. Samir Hussein/WireImage Meghan Markle. Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock 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! The bond continued to show inside, as Meghan greeted more women. She occasionally touched her baby bump as the group congratulated her on the news that she and Prince Harry are expecting their first child in the spring. Grandmother Intlak Alsaiegh, 62, who is the project manager for the over-55s at the Al Manaar center, described Meghan as “so simple and so welcoming” — and a natural with children. She recalls, “People on the team had their kids from time to time, and she always put the kids on her lap. And she sit down to hug them, and she said, ‘I love kids.’ I said, ‘For what you did for us, Allah will give you the baby.’ We are so happy.” Chris Jackson/Getty Images Royal Baby on the Way! See Every Photo of Meghan Markle’s Baby Bump Meghan and her husband Harry, 34, have been known to bend royal protocol and be affectionate with their fans. While watching a sailing event on Sydney Harbor during their tour last month, Harry received a bear hug from an American sailor. The athlete wrapped his arms tightly around the Duke of Sussex and patted his back as Meghan observed and laughed. The embrace was so intense that Harry’s feet even lifted off the ground! “Now that’s a hug!” said Meghan, chuckling. “Nicely done.” After Meghan introduced herself with a handshake and a much tamer hug, Harry advised the sailor to not give her the same greeting. “No, I know,” the man said, laughing with the couple. Meghan also loved an embrace with her young fans, like the 10-year-old girl who told the newlywed that she wanted to be an actress.