Inside Meghan Markle's Sweet Surprise for Palace Staff

Yes, Meghan Markle sends work emails at various hours — something that sparked some in the U.K. to criticize her “difficult” work style.

“The email thing is such a weird slant on someone who is actually an incredibly organized, diligent, focused, hardworking person,” a former colleague of Meghan’s tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. “She was always that way. She showed up on-set more prepared than anyone else.”

Her friends say that the royal mom-to-be is a “team player” who is always the “leader of group morale.” A former costar recalls how she would often do small things to boost the mood on-set, like having gourmet burgers delivers for the crew.

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“It’s the same stuff she does with her office at [Kensington Palace] now,” the costar says. “I came by there one day, and she had ordered an incredible ice-cream and sorbet stand for the office. They were remarking how it was the ‘best day of work ever.’ It warmed my heart to see her just continuing to be her and bring her style to the U.K.”

RELATED: Meghan Markle in Her Friends’ Own Words: ‘She Personifies Elegance, Grace, Philanthropy’

Meghan’s thoughtfulness doesn’t end at her own office. A longtime friend was recently visiting Meghan when she noticed boxes lining Nottingham Cottage, the Kensington Palace home where she and Prince Harry have lived since their engagement.

When the pal asked Meghan was the boxes were, she responded, “They’re hand warmers. Every time it gets cold like this, I take them to the guard stations. The guards are standing at their posts, and I don’t want the guys to be cold.”

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