"Hi, I'm Meg's mom," Doria Ragland introduced herself at her daughter, Meghan Markle's palace event for her new charity cookbook

Meghan Markle’s mom, Doria Ragland, was the surprise guest at the luncheon on Perk’s Field, outside Kensington Palace on Thursday.

Sitting in the front seat of a Land Rover Discovery with her daughter and son-in-law, Prince Harry, in the back, Doria stepped out to greet waiting guests, including Hubb coordinator Zahira Ghaswala, with the words, “Hi, I’m Meg’s mom.”

Baroness Gail Rebuck, chair of publisher Penguin Random House, told Doria she must feel “very proud” of the Duchess of Sussex and her work on the cookbook,Together: Our Community Cookbook.

“Head over heels,” she replied.

Meghan embraced her friends at the kitchen warmly with kisses on cheeks, visibly excited at the success of the book this week and the day of the launch.

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

The trio, who at one point stood with their arms around one another in a line, made their way around four food stations, with the duchess standing behind a tabletop grill to help cook while her mother and husband watched on proudly.

At the first stop, Ahlam Saeid showed off an enormous bowl of green rice.

“Oh I love that,” said Doria. “That was the first thing I asked about [after learning of the cookbook].”

Meghan laughed as she added fresh dill and sunflower oil to the dish.

Meghan Markle
| Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

As they made their way through tables of salad, chapatis and kofta kebabs, Doria asked the cooks about the ingredients, listening carefully to the herbs and spices they described.

One of the cooks promised to set food aside for the royal couple, with Meghan telling her: “Oh, thank you, I’ll take that home and have it for dinner.”


Meghan showed off her cooking skills, flipping chapatis confidently and turning koftas on the grill.

Prince Harry was careful to follow several steps behind, making small talk with guests and watching proudly as his wife took center stage.

Meghan Markle
| Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

The characteristics that inspire Meghan’s steady confidence were plain to see for those who met Doria at the royal wedding on May 19.

“She has a softness, but I detected a steely core to her,” a royal family friend said of Doria. “She has come through a hell of a lot.”

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Doria, the source added, “was lovely to talk to and bursting with pride.”

Doria drew plaudits for being a strong and solo role model as she accompanied her daughter to church on her wedding day.

“Meghan draws a lot of strength from her mother,” Meghan’s longtime friend and makeup artist Daniel Martin previously told PEOPLE.

After lunch, Harry, Meghan and Doria posed for a group photo with the women and their children before staying to chat.

Meghan Markle
| Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty

Doria then embraced each of the women with a warm hug, telling them, “It’s amazing. I’m just as excited as you are.”

Speaking of her daughter’s experience at the kitchen, Doria said, “She felt very much at home.

“I’m so glad I can put the face with the recipes. I’m going to tell everyone, I met her [each of the cooks]! I’m going to make everything, I’m serious,” she added.

Standing with a small group of the Hubb Community Kitchen cooks, she also gave an insight into where Meghan’s own beliefs have come from.

“The power of women,” she said. “We make things happen. “We’re curious, we say yes, we show up. I’m inspired.”