On June 23, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex volunteered at Homeboy Industries —which supports people moving on after incarceration or gang involvement. The couple spent time making baked goods for the community and learned more about the group members.
To the surprise of the room, Meghan, 38, also began speaking in Spanish with one of the participants.
“She spoke Spanish perfectly with one young woman,” Father Greg Boyle, the group’s founder, tells PEOPLE. “She just went right into Spanish, which was a revelation — and it was very good.”
After double-majoring in theater and international Northwestern University, Meghan interned at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she learned Spanish.
Meghan and Harry “were completely engaged and very informal” during their visit, adds Boyle, who says the Duchess of Sussex called him shortly after the murder of George Floyd to connect and arrange a visit to come volunteer with Homeboy Industries.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Meghan Markle
"She didn’t want to have a long-table discussion or presentation or even a tour," he says. "They knew we pivoted our organization to help address food insecurity in the county and that was intriguing to her, so she said, 'We want to come and put an apron on,' and that’s what they did. It was quite wonderful.
They also wore wear masks, gloves and hairnets as they prepared croissants and other baked goods for those in need in the community.
“Meghan is quite good at it — and Harry probably less so!” Boyle shares.
Meghan has a longstanding connection to Boyle, who has worked closely with her alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School. Meghan and her mom, Doria Ragland, joined Boyle for a cooking workshop with Homeboy almost 20 years ago. ("She remembers the tamale recipe she learned there to this day," says a source.)
“We were joking about that and she said, ‘I don’t even think Harry even had a tamale before!’ So maybe she will make it for him,” Boyle adds.
Samir Hussein/WireImage Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
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Meghan and Harry made sure to connect with each person in the room, both separately and together.
“A couple of times they’d be separated at one table or another, but then they’d always find their way to each other. It was just sweet,” says Boyle. “They seem to have a good time together. We all felt special that they chose to come to our place.”