Together: Our Community Cookbook is Meghan Markle's first royal charity endeavor, and to commemorate it she held a luncheon on Thursday (September 20). The book, available September 25, contains recipes and stories from the women who work in London's Hubb Community Kitchen, a communal cooking and dining space served by and for the communities impacted by the tragic Grenfell Tower fire last year. At Thursday's event, as Markle's husband, Prince Harry, and mom, Doria Ragland, looked on, the Duchess of Sussex opened up about the time she spent working in the kitchen and on the cookbook, and about Hubb's far-reaching impact.
According to ITV's royal correspondent Chris Ship, Markle spoke (without notes) for nearly three minutes. In videos Ship captured at the event and shared on Twitter, Markle looks excited and grateful to be launching the project and speaks from the heart about its importance.
"Working on this project for the past nine months has been a tremendous labor of love," she began. "I had just recently moved to London, and I felt so immediately embraced by the women in the kitchen: their warmth, their kindness, and also to be able to be in this city and to see in this one small room how multicultural it was. On a personal level, I feel so proud to live in a city that can have so much diversity. It's 12 countries represented in this one group of women! It's pretty outstanding."
Markle continued, "There's so many people to thank. Of course, Penguin Random House, your support and belief in this from the beginning has been just incredible. And Al Manaar, thank you so much for the support and seeing this through for us. Our team at Kensington Palace and the Royal Foundation—on a personal note, I'm especially grateful to them because this is my first project, so I appreciate your support in the vision I had for this and seeing it come to fruition. And then everyone behind the scenes, I mean, it truly took a village to see this through!"
See clips of the speech for yourself, below:
"Everyone embraced this so deeply because it's been a passion project for all of us, and for very good reason. I said in the foreword that this is more than a cookbook," she added. "And what I mean by that is, the power of food is more than just the meal itself. It is the story behind it. And when you get to know the story of the recipe, you get to know the person behind it. And 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," she said.
Markle ended her gracious speech by turning the attention back to the women at the core of the project. "So, to the women of the Hubb Community Kitchen, thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this adventure with you," she said. "I'm so privileged to know you. I'm so excited to see the projects you're going to continue to do in your own community and the community at large, and also how you're going to inspire people globally by sharing your stories and your recipes. It's so impactful. You can see, just in a few days alone—and the book's not even out yet—what you've been able to do. That's a testament to what this means to people, and I'm so proud of you."