It’s probably as close as any of us will ever come to having tea with the Queen.
On December 16 at 8:30 p.m., BBC One will gift its viewers with A Berry Royal Christmas. The one-hour special features British cooking’s queen 84-year old Mary Berry, and Kate Middleton, the Queen Consort-in-waiting.
Prince William also dons an apron, joining his wife to promote charity just in time for the holiday season. What brought Mary and Kate together in 2013 was their shared patronage of the Child Bereavement UK charity.
On meeting Mary, Kate confessed, “I love your cookbooks and I love your cakes, they’re so delicious.” Now we can watch as she and William try their hands at recipes Mary brought to the Rosewood London for last month’s filming.
In between the special’s home-viewer baking tutorials, the BBC gives three of the royals’ charities a chance to shine:
Botany rules the day at Surrey’s RHS Wisley Garden, where Kate and Mary look as fresh as summer bouquets in dresses of flower-strewn blue. They join local children for a tractor-trailer tour of the kid-friendly “Back to Nature” garden, which Kate co-designed with Davies White Landscape Architects.
In the second segment, Mary and William visit the UK’s largest homeless shelter, The Passage. The Prince first visited in 1993 at Princess Diana’s side and became its Patron earlier this year.
And 10 years ago this month, in an effort to understand the challenges the homeless face every day, he actually spent the night roughing it under London’s Blackfriars Bridge!
Finally, Mary accompanies Kate to Liverpool’s The Brink, Action on Addiction’s dry bar dedicated to helping recovering addicts. Claiming a clientele of “dockers, shockers (and) old punk rockers,” The Brink boasts long lists of delicious non-alcoholic drinks and the freshest locally sourced foods.
During their visit to The Passage, William shared with Mary that his motivation to help the less fortunate comes naturally:
“Growing up, both of my parents were hugely charitable. My father set up the Prince’s Trust. He’s invested in so many different organizations. My mother has done her work with homelessness and… I’ve grown up in a household which has been very much a case of, ‘well, we’re very lucky – you must give back.’”
And in that spirit, the special closes with the royal couple hosting a dinner party. Mary’s there to guide the preparations. Nadiya Hussain, winner of the 2015 Great British Baking Show, joins the fun as each chef attempts Mary’s Christmas Meringue Roulade recipe.
And who’s on the receiving end of all that cooking? Charitable workers and volunteers who’ll be too swamped during the seasonal rush to share a traditional dinner with their families.
And we certainly hope they didn’t let those Christmas Meringue Roulades go to waste!
A Very Berry Christmas will also air at the scheduled time on BBC iPlayer. Plans to broadcast it on BBC America haven’t been announced.
What are your baked holiday specialties? How about your favorite charities? What TV chefs do you make a point of watching? Let’s have a conversation!