It was unscripted, heartfelt and genuine.
When Meghan, Duchess of Sussex gave her first speech at her Grenfell charity cookbook launch this week, she did it entirely her way.
Compared to the first official speech Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge made at the East Anglia Children’s Hospice in Ipswich in March 2012, Meghan was in another league.
Catherine, understandably, as she was unused to public speaking, was very nervous and gave a stilted, but earnest speech, where she kept pausing and looking down at her notes.
She had waited 11 months after her wedding to Prince William before speaking in public.
Afterwards she admitted to a guest, “I find doing speeches nerve-racking.”
Meghan, meanwhile, was ready to go just four months after saying “I do” in May and not only did she know what she wanted to say, was happy to just get up there and say it.
She was launching Together: Our Community Cookbook, a recipe book from the Hubb Community Kitchen which catered to families after the Grenfell fire in June last year.
Meghan has been a regular visitor to the centre since January and came up with the cookbook idea through The Royal Foundation she is part of with Prince Harry, William and Catherine.
She wrote a foreword in it saying, “I immediately felt connected to this community kitchen; it is a place for women to laugh, grieve, cry and cook together.” All proceeds of the book go to fund the Hubb Kitchen. It has already become Amazon’s top-selling title.
MORE FROM KERRY PARNELL
And just like the book, Meghan’s touch was all over the launch event on Thursday. Held in a vintage-effect marquee in Kensington Palace gardens, it was unaffected and informal — the Duchess even invited her mother Doria Ragland, who introduced herself to guests as “Meg’s mum” and had Harry cheering her on for support.
It was about as far from a stuffy royal event you could get and a triumph for it.
Meghan spoke for three minutes with no notes and no podium, simply giving a passionate introduction. “Working on this project for the past nine months has been a tremendous labour of love,” she said. “I just recently moved to London and I felt so immediately embraced by this kitchen — your warmth and kindness.”
She applauded the city’s multiculturalism. “I feel so proud to live in this city that can have so much diversity. There’s 12 countries represented in this one group of women. It’s pretty outstanding,” she said.
Meghan added this was so much more than a cookbook.
“When we get to know the story of the recipe, you get to know the person behind it,” she said. “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.”
And that is the Meghan magic, too, it seems.
Together: Our Community Cookbook, Random House Australia, $22.99, dymocks.com.au
Originally published as Meghan nails first public speech without notes