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Doria Ragland makes surprise appearance with Meghan Markle at cookbook launch

The Duchess of Sussex is incredibly close to her mother

Ainhoa Barcelona

Surprise! Meghan Markle was joined by her mother Doria Ragland as she launched her new cookbook at Kensington Palace. The Duchess' mum met the group of women who helped create the charity cookbook following last year's Grenfell Tower fire, introducing herself and saying, "I'm Meg's mum" while adding she was "head over heels" proud of her daughter. The launch took place in a marquee in the grounds of the palace, with Meghan, a self-professed foodie, playing host. She was also supported by her husband Prince Harry.

The royals and social worker Doria chatted to women from the Hubb Community Kitchen, who were preparing some of the homemade meals that feature in their cookbook. Meghan proved a dab hand in the kitchen, flipping chapatis and turning koftas on a grill, while Harry and Doria watched on. "Oh I love that," said Doria as she was shown an enormous bowl of green rice. "That was the first thing I asked about." "Everyone's just hungry," Meghan added, pouring olive oil and fresh mint to the dish.

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As they made their way around the four stations, Doria quizzed the cooks about the ingredients, listening carefully to the herbs and spices they described. One chef put aside some food for the royal couple, with Meghan saying: "Oh thank you, I'll take that home and have it for dinner." Harry was careful to follow a few steps behind throughout the engagement, making sure his wife took centre stage.

The former actress gave a three-minute speech without notes, saying she felt "immediately embraced" by the female cooks. "I had just recently moved to London and I felt so immediately embraced by the women of the kitchen. Your warmth and your kindness, and also to be in this city and see in this one small room how multicultural it was," she said. "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."

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Meghan first visited the Hubb Community Kitchen – hubb means love in Arabic – in January 2018 and has been making regular private visits since. The kitchen came about after members of the local Grenfell community decided to gather and prepare fresh food for their families and neighbours, as a way of helping the community to connect, heal and look forward. Proceeds from the book will support the Hubb Community Kitchen, helping it to stay open and to thrive.

The hardback features over 50 recipes from across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, including coconut chicken curry, aubergine masala and a range of chapatis and sharing dips, as well as caramelised plum upside-down cake, and spiced mint tea.

At the launch, the Duchess stunned in a black skirt and top, and beat the autumn chill in a blue coat. Her mum Doria, who was last seen at the royal wedding in May, looked lovely in a beige outfit. The Duchess' mum was spotted flying into the UK earlier this week, although the palace did not previously announce that she would be attending the cookbook launch.

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In footage obtained by Inside Edition, Doria was spotted walking through the airport with an attendant who pushed her suitcase for her and showed her to the lift. It was also recently revealed that Doria spent an extended holiday with her daughter and Prince Harry in England over the summer, according to royal correspondent Omid Scobie.

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