The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined forces with Mary Berry to cook up a festive feast to thank people who will be working on Christmas Day. Prince William and Kate asked the Queen of TV cookery to help them spread seasonal cheer to people connected to their charities who won’t be able to relax with their families over the holiday.
Mary came up with recipes for a party they hosted at the Rosewood Hotel in London last month, after the royal couple took her to visit some of the charities and organisations closest to their hearts to give her a flavour of why they are so passionate about supporting them. And they later donned their aprons to help her and former Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain lay on a delicious spread - including Christmas Meringue Roulade – for their lucky guests. The events were filmed by Shine TV for the BBC as part of an hour-long TV special called A Berry Royal Christmas, which airs on December 16.
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William and Kate join Mary and Nadiya
Viewers will see the Duke and Duchess, wearing a red silk dress by Alessandra Rich, preparing food with Mary and Nadiya in the Swedish-inspired Elyx Chalet on the hotel’s terrace before serving it up to guests invited from their patronages. Partygoers include nurses, emergency services workers, staff from a mother and baby unit and armed forces personnel.
A source told HELLO!: "The Duke and Duchess were joined by Mary on several different engagements over the past couple of months and showed her some of the charities and patronages close to their hearts to explain a bit about why they do what they do. They wanted to show her why they care so much about these organisations and Mary comes up with ideas for recipes for the event."
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William and Mary at The Passage
In a conversation between Mary and William, filmed during a secret visit to the homeless charity The Passage last month, the future king paid tribute to his parents and grandparents for their charity work over the years. Asked where his own motivation to help came from, the Duke said: "Growing up both of my parents were hugely charitable. My father set up the Prince's Trust. He's involved in so many different organisations. My mother has done her work with homelessness and as you said AIDs and other charities and I think 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 you know, my grandmother becoming Queen at a very young age, in the days when it was a man's world, it was very difficult for her to … make a difference. And she's done it. In her own very unique, distinct way, and you know, my grandmother and my grandfather together are the epitome of public service. And I personally get a lot out of helping people. I find that you hear and you understand and you learn so much more by giving a bit of your time, a bit of your day, to just be around."
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Kate visiting The Brink
William, who became patron of The Passage earlier this year, first visited as a child with his mother Diana, Princess of Wales and returned with Mary on November 15. Two days earlier, Kate introduced Mary to the work of one of her first patronages on a visit to The Brink in Liverpool, the UK’s first dry bar set up by Action on Addiction to provide a safe space for people suffering from addiction.
Viewers will also be taken behind the scenes at the Duchess's visit to RHS Wisley on 10 September, where she talks to Mary about her passion for early years support for children and families and gives her a tour of the play garden inspired by her Back to Nature garden. The two women are seen icing cupcakes for young guests invited to the garden's opening.
A source said of the royal TV appearance, thought to be the Duchess's most substantial one to date: "It's really heart-warming. The conversations they have really pull on the heartstrings. "You get a really good sense of who she is – maybe more so than before."
Kate has previously appeared on Blue Peter and was interviewed for a documentary to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday
She was seen visiting the BBC's Broadcasting House in central London on November 7 and it later emerged she had met director general Tony Hall.
Kate and Mary ice cupcakes at RHS Wisley
Announcing the new show, the BBC said: "Throughout the programme Mary will also be cooking some of her favourite Christmas recipes for viewers to try out at home as she helps prepare the festive food for a very royal event to thank all those working and volunteering over the Christmas period."
The veteran TV chef said: "I am honoured that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have invited me to join them on four of their royal charity engagements this Christmas. It will be truly special to see the causes so close to their hearts, as well as to hear all about the amazing support these charities provide. The finale is a big Christmas party and I will be cooking up a feast for them to enjoy. A-one hour Christmas special not to be missed."
This is not the first time the Duke and Duchess have rolled up their sleeves and delivered some hands-on festive cheer in aid of those less fortunate. In November last year they helped to prepare soup and bread for young people helped by homeless charity Centrepoint – of which the Duke is patron – at a centre in Barnsley, south Yorkshire. The couple were asked to help prepare some lunch at a brand-new hostel built to hold 60 people and then serve it to two youngsters who have been helped by the charity.
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One month later, the beaming Duke and Duchess got into the holiday spirit by hosting a Christmas party for the families and children of Royal Air Force personnel who had been deployed over the festive season. The party was held in the Orangery at Kensington Palace and featured fake snow and a visit from Santa. One day after the party, which was held in partnership with the Royal British Legion, the couple flew to the Royal Air Force base in Cyprus to visit troops and deliver cards and gifts from their loved ones in the UK.
Once again keen to show off his skills in the kitchen, in February this year, William spent the first day in his role as royal patron of The Passage homeless charity by serving spaghetti Bolognese to a group of rough sleepers. The Duke chopped carrots while wearing an apron before serving the meal to a queue of homeless people waiting for lunch at the organisation in Central London, which is the country’s largest resource centre for homeless people, and those in insecure accommodation.
A Berry Royal Christmas airs Monday 16th December at 8.30pm on BBC One
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