The programme begins with national treasure, Mary Berry explaining how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge want to thank volunteers, charity workers, nurses and emergency service personnel who are giving up their holiday in order to help and serve others. William and Catherine will be thanking them with an early Christmas Feast that Mary Berry will be preparing the menu for.
Before the party, Mary Berry accompanies the Duke and Duchess to several charities supported by the Cambridge's to discover the work that they do. From the beginning, the entire concept warmed by heart and it was very clear that the Duke and Duchess took a lot of time in considering the charities they wanted to highlight and honour.
The first stop was RHS Wisley, where the Duchess had opened a new play area that encourages children and families to reconnect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors. The Back to Nature festival was a culmination of the Duchess's work with the RHS over the summer.
Mary Berry speaks with the Duchess about her work with children, specifically reconnecting children to nature. She shares her belief that the outdoors are a great and safe environment for kids because there are numerous mental and physical health benefits as well as being a great place for families to reconnect and be together. Mary shared that the kitchen is similar to her. Teaching kids cooking skills can help grow their confidence and it is a great bonding activity for parents of guardians.
While talking to Mary, Catherine opened up about her own children sharing that some of Prince Louis's first words were Mary Berry and that he loves beetroot. She mentioned that Prince George has a little 'museum' of all of the things he finds when playing outside and that the family plays outside, regardless of weather. It was clear that the Duchess practices what she preaches, leading by example with her own family. Mary Berry also enlisted the Duchess's help in finishing some of the treats she had prepared for the festival.
Mary Berry then prepared a chocolate beetroot cake inspired by Prince Louis's love of the vegetable. After the cooking segment, Mary joined William at Passage Charity, a homelessness charity that the Duke supports. Mary and William are both patrons of Child Bereavement U.K. so Mary mentions she's less nervous than she was meeting Catherine since she has met William before.
The pair make a Kettle together and discuss the impact Diana, Princess of Wales had on William and how he passes some of his mothers lessons onto his own children. Diana brought both William and Harry to Passage Charity when they were children to meet some people the charity helps. William shared it had a profound impact on him and how his mother was keen to teach him there is life beyond Palace walls.
William now teaches his children the same lessons, not shying away from difficult subject like homelessness. He shared that during the school run when they see someone sleeping rough on the streets, he will point it out and explain it to Prince George and Princess Charlotte. He also shared he hopes to bring them to the charity like his own mother did when they are a bit older. Princess Diana had a massive impact globally but clearly still has a massive impact within the Cambridge's home with how William and Catherine are choosing to raise their three children.
Mary and William then joined people who work at passage at those the charity was helping for a cup of tea and decorating cookies. They discussed some of the hardest parts of being homeless and how each of them became homeless. Generally, homelessness is brought on by difficult life events like job loss, illness, addiction or injury and those who find themselves homeless can often feel excluded from the rest of society as they are ignored and ostracized daily on the streets.
For the final charity stop, Mary joined Catherine at the Brink, a dry bar opened by Action on Addiction, the first Patronage the Duchess of Cambridge received. Mary made some mocktails for those in attendance and found out more about the charities Impact program from some of the families it has helped.
Action on Addiction takes a comprehensive approach for those recovering from addiction that includes supporting children and families of those they are treating. Addiction can be a generational problem when children and families are not included in the recovery process. Impact is one of several programs the charity runs to support children and provide them a safe space to talk about their feelings and struggles.
Throughout the visits, the Duke and Duchess's respective styles of charity work really shined through. William seems more instinctual in his charity work, he supports a wide range of issues including homelessness, first responders, mental health, sports, conservation and armed services. While Catherine focuses in on a few key issues and does extensive research and preparation to offer specialized support and help in areas like addiction, early years and mental health. The two styles compliment one another well and it is evident they are both incredibly proud of their spouse.
Perhaps the best part of the special, to me, would be the couples Roulade competition. Catherine teamed up with Mary Berry while William had Nadiya Hussain as his teammate. Williams competitive side came out while Catherine was all about technique. She shared the William used to cook for her during University, joking that it was "when he was trying to impress me". Mary ended up declaring a draw but it was completely heartwarming to see their dynamic in this way.
The party went incredibly well, the three of them speaking to several different organizations and people throughout the evening. To close out the evening, Luke Evans sang a beautiful rendition of Have Yourself a very Merry Christmas. Other than the special never ending, there was nothing that could have made this any better. It was a beautiful tribute to several important charities and those who help others over the holidays. It was a perfect special to get into the spirit of the holiday and I would fully support an annual Royal Berry Christmas Special. Happy Christmas! xx