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‘I’m so proud of you’: Pregnant Meghan shares hugs and praise with Grenfell kitchen women as she helps survivors make 200 meals for local groups in a day as their charity cookbook raises £210,000

  • Meghan made emotional return visit to Hubb Community Kitchen in North Kensington, West London
  • Duchess has supported women whose community was affected by Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017
  • Royal, 37, also backed Together: Our Community Cookbook which has now become a bestseller
  • Book took number one spot on Amazon and has since sold 40,000 copies in UK, raising £210,000

By

Rebecca English, Royal Correspondent for the Daily Mail

and
Mark Duell for MailOnline


Published:
10:32 GMT, 21 November 2018

|
Updated:
13:24 GMT, 21 November 2018

The pregnant Duchess of Sussex today made an emotional return visit to a community kitchen which inspired her collaborative work on a Grenfell Tower charity cookbook, telling the women: ‘I’m so proud of you.’

Meghan went to the Hubb Community Kitchen, not far from the site of the deadly tower block blaze in West London, to see first hand the progress made since the Together cookbook went on sale in September.

The mother-to-be was greeted warmly by kitchen co-ordinator Zaheera Sufyaan – whom she gave a big hug – and Abdurahman Sayed, chief executive of the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Centre in North Kensington.

Meghan, who has been making private visits to the kitchen since January, quickly abandoned any formality when she got inside. She threw her arms around each of the women and kissed them, chattering excitedly about what they had been up to since she last saw them. ‘Hi, how are you? Wow, it’s so quiet in here,’ she said, giggling.

Wearing a burgundy dress and coat by Club Monaco, a Canadian company now owned by US fashion giant Polo Ralph Lauren, Meghan soon put on an apron, rolled up her sleeves and got stuck into helping prepare food.

She said to a group of women: ‘It starts from one idea and from this one idea starts so much. I’m so proud of you.’ 

The book – full title Together: Our Community Cookbook – took the number one spot on Amazon within hours of being unveiled two months ago and has since sold nearly 40,000 copies in the UK, raising £210,000.  

Meghan hugs Zaheera Sufyaan, who is part of the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London as she visits the centre today

Meghan hugs Zaheera Sufyaan, who is part of the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London as she visits the centre today

Meghan hugs Zaheera Sufyaan, who is part of the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London as she visits the centre today

Meghan warmly hugged Zaheera Sufyaan, the kitchen coordinator and one of her collaborators on the book

Meghan warmly hugged Zaheera Sufyaan, the kitchen coordinator and one of her collaborators on the book

Meghan visit the  Hubb Community Kitchen

Meghan visit the  Hubb Community Kitchen

Meghan warmly hugs Ms Sufyaan, the kitchen coordinator and one of her collaborators on the book

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex poses for a group photo with members of the Hubb Community Kitchen in London this morning

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex poses for a group photo with members of the Hubb Community Kitchen in London this morning

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex poses for a group photo with members of the Hubb Community Kitchen in London this morning

 The cookbook featured more than 50 recipes from women whose community was affected by the Grenfell Tower fire

 The cookbook featured more than 50 recipes from women whose community was affected by the Grenfell Tower fire

 The cookbook featured more than 50 recipes from women whose community was affected by the Grenfell Tower fire

Meghan, whose first baby with Prince Harry is due in the spring, holds her bump today as she talks to the chefs

Meghan, whose first baby with Prince Harry is due in the spring, holds her bump today as she talks to the chefs

Meghan, whose first baby with Prince Harry is due in the spring, holds her bump today as she talks to the chefs

Meghan speaks with chef Clare Smyth (right) as they visit the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London this morning

Meghan speaks with chef Clare Smyth (right) as they visit the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London this morning

Meghan speaks with chef Clare Smyth (right) as they visit the Hubb Community Kitchen in West London this morning

Wearing a burgundy dress and coat by Club Monaco, Meghan got involved in helping prepare the food this morning

Wearing a burgundy dress and coat by Club Monaco, Meghan got involved in helping prepare the food this morning

Wearing a burgundy dress and coat by Club Monaco, Meghan got involved in helping prepare the food this morning

Kitchen co-ordinator Ms Sufyaan waves to the cameras as she and Meghan enter the community kitchen in London today

Kitchen co-ordinator Ms Sufyaan waves to the cameras as she and Meghan enter the community kitchen in London today

Kitchen co-ordinator Ms Sufyaan waves to the cameras as she and Meghan enter the community kitchen in London today


Make like Meghan in a burgundy dress by Club Monaco

The Duchess of Sussex turned to one of her favourite labels, Club Monaco for an engagement in London today.

Meghan wore the brand’s ‘Sallyet’ dress in a chic burgundy colour that simply exuded winter-chic vibes. We love the contrasting velvet collar! The stylish royal then finished off with a co-ordinating coat also by Club Monaco and a pair of cut-out ankle boots by Givenchy.

We’ve spotted her wearing the label on a lot of different occasions, most recently throughout the Royal tour, plus back in August when she attended a wedding on her birthday.

Deep berry and plum shades are perfect for this time of year, so click (right) to snap up this exact dress before the Meghan effect takes hold. You can also get your hands on her exact coat and ankle boots below to recreate the look in full.

Alternatively, we’ve hand-picked even more must-have maroon dresses that have a cute collar neckline just like Meghan’s. La Redoute and Warehouse have the best lookalikes.

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Bumper sales of the cookbook, which features more than 50 recipes from women whose community was affected by the fire, have allowed a total makeover of the kitchen as well as longer opening hours.

Meghan, who suggested the idea of a fundraising cookbook when she first met the women, has previously described it as a ‘tremendous labour of love’.

The kitchen, redesigned with the women’s input to capture its spirit as a place for the community to come together over meals, now opens seven days a week, up from just two when it began last year.

Those involved have also been able to obtain food hygiene qualifications and been empowered to start their own projects for the benefit of the wider community.

Projects, supported by the social entrepreneur foundation UnLtd, include a group for women affected by domestic violence, a scheme to deliver freshly cooked meals for women on maternity wards, and a project to produce healthy treats for children. 

The Duchess of Sussex wears a ring with a heart-shaped detail as she visits the Hubb Community Kitchen this morning

The Duchess of Sussex wears a ring with a heart-shaped detail as she visits the Hubb Community Kitchen this morning

The Duchess of Sussex wears a ring with a heart-shaped detail as she visits the Hubb Community Kitchen this morning

The Duchess of Sussex arrives at the Hubb Community Kitchen in North Kensington this morning

The Duchess of Sussex arrives at the Hubb Community Kitchen in North Kensington this morning

Meghan helps out in North Kensington today

Meghan helps out in North Kensington today

The Duchess of Sussex arrives at the Hubb Community Kitchen in North Kensington this morning

The women were preparing 200 meals in just one day, to be delivered to local groups, including elderly people's homes

The women were preparing 200 meals in just one day, to be delivered to local groups, including elderly people's homes

The women were preparing 200 meals in just one day, to be delivered to local groups, including elderly people’s homes

Together has sold more than 40,000 copies in the UK and raised £210,000 so far in the seven weeks since it went on sale

Together has sold more than 40,000 copies in the UK and raised £210,000 so far in the seven weeks since it went on sale

Together has sold more than 40,000 copies in the UK and raised £210,000 so far in the seven weeks since it went on sale

The new facilities provide a safe and professional space for the women to cook, gather and run activities in their community

The new facilities provide a safe and professional space for the women to cook, gather and run activities in their community

The new facilities provide a safe and professional space for the women to cook, gather and run activities in their community

Previously the kitchen was only able to open two days a week due to funding - but now this has gone up to seven days

Previously the kitchen was only able to open two days a week due to funding - but now this has gone up to seven days

Previously the kitchen was only able to open two days a week due to funding – but now this has gone up to seven days

Meghan helped prepare the food as she introduced chef Clare Smyth (far left), a friend of hers, to volunteers in the kitchen 

Meghan helped prepare the food as she introduced chef Clare Smyth (far left), a friend of hers, to volunteers in the kitchen 

Meghan helped prepare the food as she introduced chef Clare Smyth (far left), a friend of hers, to volunteers in the kitchen 

The Duchess of Sussex has a drink as she visits the Hubb Community Kitchen in West Loidon this morning

The Duchess of Sussex has a drink as she visits the Hubb Community Kitchen in West Loidon this morning

The Duchess of Sussex has a drink as she visits the Hubb Community Kitchen in West Loidon this morning

The duchess smiled as she met the women as they prepared fresh meals for the community in the newly renovated kitchen

The duchess smiled as she met the women as they prepared fresh meals for the community in the newly renovated kitchen

The duchess smiled as she met the women as they prepared fresh meals for the community in the newly renovated kitchen

Meghan sits at a table at the kitchen

Meghan sits at a table at the kitchen

Together has appeared in the Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller lists, selling tens of thousands of copies

Together has appeared in the Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller lists, selling tens of thousands of copies

Together has appeared in the Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller lists, selling tens of thousands of copies

Today, 200 meals being prepared in the kitchen were destined for local groups, including elderly people’s homes, homeless shelters and women’s refuges. The dishes include Egyptian lamb fattah, Persian chicken and barberry rice. 

The meals she helped prepare today included rainbow roasted vegetables, a recipe in the book from Ahlam Saeid, an Iraqi chemist, who stood chatting to the Duchess as she mixed the vegetables. 

Meghan drank ginger tea as she spoke to some of the women who have been motivated to go on and develop further projects including making healthy snacks for children, and preparing food for the homeless.

She also introduced chef Clare Smyth, a friend of hers, to the volunteers in the kitchen. Smiling, Meghan said: ‘I’m so proud of you. It’s really exciting.’

The people involved in the kitchen are ‘incredible’, said Ms Smyth, who visited the kitchen for the first time with Meghan.

The women have been empowered to start their own projects, which will help others in their community benefit

The women have been empowered to start their own projects, which will help others in their community benefit

The women have been empowered to start their own projects, which will help others in their community benefit

Meghan bids farewell to kitchen co-ordinator Ms Sufyaan following her visit to the kitchen in North Kensington today

Meghan bids farewell to kitchen co-ordinator Ms Sufyaan following her visit to the kitchen in North Kensington today

Meghan embraces Ms Sufyaan outside the centre

Meghan embraces Ms Sufyaan outside the centre

Meghan bids farewell to kitchen co-ordinator Ms Sufyaan following her visit to the kitchen in North Kensington today

The Duchess of Sussex and her friend, chef Clare Smyth (left), visit the Hubb Community Kitchen this morning

The Duchess of Sussex and her friend, chef Clare Smyth (left), visit the Hubb Community Kitchen this morning

The Duchess of Sussex and her friend, chef Clare Smyth (left), visit the Hubb Community Kitchen this morning

The Duchess of Sussex speaks to the women at the Hubb Community Kitchen as she finds out how funds are being used

The Duchess of Sussex speaks to the women at the Hubb Community Kitchen as she finds out how funds are being used

The Duchess of Sussex speaks to the women at the Hubb Community Kitchen as she finds out how funds are being used

Those involved have also been able to obtain food hygiene qualifications and been empowered to start their own projects

Those involved have also been able to obtain food hygiene qualifications and been empowered to start their own projects

Those involved have also been able to obtain food hygiene qualifications and been empowered to start their own projects

The dishes prepared by the kitchen today include Egyptian lamb fattah, Persian chicken and barberry rice

The dishes prepared by the kitchen today include Egyptian lamb fattah, Persian chicken and barberry rice

Meghan gets stuck in with helping to prepare the food

Meghan gets stuck in with helping to prepare the food

The dishes prepared by the kitchen today include Egyptian lamb fattah, Persian chicken and barberry rice

Meghan suggested the idea of a fundraising cookbook when she first met the women in North Kensington

Meghan suggested the idea of a fundraising cookbook when she first met the women in North Kensington

Meghan suggested the idea of a fundraising cookbook when she first met the women in North Kensington

Meghan has previously described the book - Together: Our Community Cookbook - as a "tremendous labour of love"

Meghan has previously described the book - Together: Our Community Cookbook - as a "tremendous labour of love"

Meghan has previously described the book – Together: Our Community Cookbook – as a ‘tremendous labour of love’

Meghan arrived at the kitchen to see first hand the progress made since the Together cookbook went on sale

Meghan arrived at the kitchen to see first hand the progress made since the Together cookbook went on sale

Meghan arrived at the kitchen to see first hand the progress made since the Together cookbook went on sale

The book went number one on Amazon within hours of being unveiled and has since sold nearly 40,000 copies in the UK

The book went number one on Amazon within hours of being unveiled and has since sold nearly 40,000 copies in the UK

The book went number one on Amazon within hours of being unveiled and has since sold nearly 40,000 copies in the UK

The Co Antrim-born chef, who now lives in London and has a restaurant near the community facility, said: ‘If everyone took care of their community like this there would be no issues in the world.’

Ms Smith said Meghan had spoken with passion about the kitchen. ‘She’s really into food, she’s a real foodie.’

The team set out to raise £250,000 to renovate the kitchen and open it seven days a week and expect to easily surpass that, especially with Christmas coming up.

Supported by The Royal Foundation and published by Penguin Random House companies, Together has raised enough funds for the kitchen to be completely redesigned and re-fitted, with the women’s input, to capture what has been described as their ‘joyful spirit’.

Over the summer last year, a group of women gathered in a communal kitchen at the Al Manaar community centre, where they could prepare fresh food for their families, friends and neighbours affected by the disaster. 

The kitchen has been redesigned with the women's input to capture its spirit as a place for the community to come together

The kitchen has been redesigned with the women's input to capture its spirit as a place for the community to come together

The kitchen has been redesigned with the women’s input to capture its spirit as a place for the community to come together

The kitchen has become a place where people come together over meals and now opens seven days a week, up from just two

The kitchen has become a place where people come together over meals and now opens seven days a week, up from just two

The kitchen has become a place where people come together over meals and now opens seven days a week, up from just two

Meghan soon put on an apron, rolled up her sleeves and got stuck into helping prepare food this morning

Meghan soon put on an apron, rolled up her sleeves and got stuck into helping prepare food this morning

Meghan soon put on an apron, rolled up her sleeves and got stuck into helping prepare food this morning

Meghan speaks to the chefs as she visits the community kitchen today to see how funds raised are making a difference

Meghan speaks to the chefs as she visits the community kitchen today to see how funds raised are making a difference

Meghan speaks to the chefs as she visits the community kitchen today to see how funds raised are making a difference

Meghan, wearing a coat and dress by Club Monaco, was greeted by Abdurahman Sayed, from the Al Manaar Mosque

Meghan, wearing a coat and dress by Club Monaco, was greeted by Abdurahman Sayed, from the Al Manaar Mosque

Meghan, wearing a coat and dress by Club Monaco, was greeted by Abdurahman Sayed, from the Al Manaar Mosque

Together has sold more than 40,000 copies in the UK and raised £210,000 so far in the seven weeks since it went on sale

Together has sold more than 40,000 copies in the UK and raised £210,000 so far in the seven weeks since it went on sale

Together has sold more than 40,000 copies in the UK and raised £210,000 so far in the seven weeks since it went on sale

The Duchess arrives at the Hubb Community Kitchen today to see how the funds raised by the book are making a difference

The Duchess arrives at the Hubb Community Kitchen today to see how the funds raised by the book are making a difference

The book features more than 50 recipes

The book features more than 50 recipes

The Duchess arrives at the Hubb Community Kitchen today to see how the funds raised by the book are making a difference

The team set out to raise £250,000 to renovate the kitchen and open it seven days a week and expect to easily surpass that

The team set out to raise £250,000 to renovate the kitchen and open it seven days a week and expect to easily surpass that

The team set out to raise £250,000 to renovate the kitchen and open it seven days a week and expect to easily surpass that

Meghan arrived at the Hubb Community Kitchen today

Meghan arrived at the Hubb Community Kitchen today

The kitchen is not far from the site of the deadly tower block blaze in West London

The kitchen is not far from the site of the deadly tower block blaze in West London

Meghan arrived at the Hubb Community Kitchen, not far from the site of the deadly tower block blaze in West London

As they cooked together and shared recipes, as a community they began to connect, heal and look forward. Word spread and more women joined in – and this was the start of the Hubb kitchen. 

The new facilities provide a safe and professional space for the women to cook, gather and run activities within their community. Previously the kitchen was only able to open two days a week due to funding.

But the women are now able to use the kitchen seven days a week, and have been trained to gain food hygiene qualifications and empowered to start their own projects, which will help others in their community benefit. 

The duchess, who has made regular private visits to the kitchen since January, met the women as they prepared fresh meals for the local community in the newly renovated kitchen.

The women were preparing 200 meals in just one day, to be delivered to local groups, including elderly people’s homes, homeless shelters and women’s refuges.

The Duchess wanted to see first hand the progress made since the Together cookbook went on sale in September

The Duchess wanted to see first hand the progress made since the Together cookbook went on sale in September

The Duchess wanted to see first hand the progress made since the Together cookbook went on sale in September

The duchess was wearing a burgundy dress and coat by Club Monaco

The duchess was wearing a burgundy dress and coat by Club Monaco

Meghan hugged Ms Sufyaan as she arrived at the kitchen today

Meghan hugged Ms Sufyaan as she arrived at the kitchen today

Wearing a burgundy dress and coat by Club Monaco, Meghan hugged Ms Sufyaan as she arrived at the kitchen today

The mother-to-be was greeted by Mr Sayed, chief executive of the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Centre in North Kensington

The mother-to-be was greeted by Mr Sayed, chief executive of the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Centre in North Kensington

The mother-to-be was greeted by Mr Sayed, chief executive of the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Centre in North Kensington

The Duchess of Sussex returned to the kitchen which inspired her collaborative work on a Grenfell charity cookbook

The Duchess of Sussex returned to the kitchen which inspired her collaborative work on a Grenfell charity cookbook

The Duchess of Sussex returned to the kitchen which inspired her collaborative work on a Grenfell charity cookbook

Meghan heard how the women in the kitchen hope to use future proceeds to reach out to more people in their community

Meghan heard how the women in the kitchen hope to use future proceeds to reach out to more people in their community

The Duchess of Sussex arrives to visit the Hubb Community Kitchen

The Duchess of Sussex arrives to visit the Hubb Community Kitchen

Meghan heard how the women in the kitchen hope to use future proceeds to reach out to more people in their community

Meghan walks up to the kitchen in West London today

Meghan walks up to the kitchen in West London today

The Duchess of Sussex smiled brightly as she arrived at the Al Manaar Muslim cultural centre in North Kensington today

The Duchess of Sussex smiled brightly as she arrived at the Al Manaar Muslim cultural centre in North Kensington today

The Duchess of Sussex smiled brightly as she arrived at the Al Manaar Muslim cultural centre in North Kensington today

Projects supported by the social entrepreneur foundation UnLtd include a group for women affected by domestic violence

Projects supported by the social entrepreneur foundation UnLtd include a group for women affected by domestic violence

Projects supported by the social entrepreneur foundation UnLtd include a group for women affected by domestic violence

There are schemes to deliver freshly cooked meals for women on maternity wards

There are schemes to deliver freshly cooked meals for women on maternity wards

There is also a scheme to produce healthy treats for children

There is also a scheme to produce healthy treats for children

There are schemes to deliver freshly cooked meals for women on maternity wards, and to produce healthy treats for children

Kensington Palace said that since the book was published, the 'inclusive ethos of Together has resonated all over the world'

Kensington Palace said that since the book was published, the 'inclusive ethos of Together has resonated all over the world'

Kensington Palace said that since the book was published, the ‘inclusive ethos of Together has resonated all over the world’

Together: Our Community Cookbook reached number one on Amazon.co.uk book chart within hours of being announced

Together: Our Community Cookbook reached number one on Amazon.co.uk book chart within hours of being announced

Meghan smiles with Ms Sufyaan  as she arrives

Meghan smiles with Ms Sufyaan  as she arrives

Together: Our Community Cookbook reached number one on Amazon.co.uk book chart within hours of being announced

They are also now working on their own projects including a group for women affected by domestic violence, a scheme to deliver nutritious, freshly cooked meals for women on maternity wards, and a project to produce healthy treats for children.

Meghan, whose first baby with her husband, Prince Harry, is due in the spring, also heard about the women’s long-term vision for the kitchen, and how they hope to use future proceeds to reach out to more people in their community.

Kensington Palace said today that since the book was published in September, the ‘inclusive ethos of Together has resonated all over the world, and inspired people not just to buy the book, but to cook, eat and gather in their own communities’. 

Together reached number one on Amazon.co.uk book chart within hours of being announced, and has appeared in the Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller lists, selling tens of thousands of copies since its release.

Meghan worked with women from the kitchen on a community cookbook. A publicity photo from its release is pictured

Meghan worked with women from the kitchen on a community cookbook. A publicity photo from its release is pictured

Meghan worked with women from the kitchen on a community cookbook. A publicity photo from its release is pictured

Meghan poses for a picture previously with the Hubb Community Kitchen team for Together: Our Community Cookbook

Meghan poses for a picture previously with the Hubb Community Kitchen team for Together: Our Community Cookbook

Meghan poses for a picture previously with the Hubb Community Kitchen team for Together: Our Community Cookbook

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