You could almost call it a Christmas miracle: Will and Kate’s festive special, A Berry Royal Christmas, aired on the BBC last night in the U.K., and it gave viewers a glimpse into their personalities that was equal parts Sugar Plum Fairy sweet and Frosty the Snowman endearing. It was nearly an hour of a famously private couple at their relaxed, jolly best—and to have it hosted by none other than cooking legend Mary Berry of The Great British Bake Off Fame? Well, that was just the silver coin in this plum pudding of cozy, twinkly television.
A quick recap of the premise: Will and Kate (noted festive enthusiast) are hosting a thank-you reception for people who work on Christmas—think volunteers at homeless shelters or crisis lines, first responders, midwives—and they’ve asked Mary to help out with the catering. As she builds the menu, the royal couple take turns showing her around some of their favourite charities, such as Passage and Action on Addiction, some of whom they’ll be honouring at the Christmas party.
A lot of it is very meaningful, very worthy, and offers a lovely glimpse into Will and Kate “at work.” It demands major props for their social skills, which are tasked with an awful lot of ice-breaking and putting nervous people at ease. What this Christmas special also was, though, was non-stop adorable, mostly thanks to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge themselves.
Roll the tape on the cutest moments from A Berry Royal Christmas, to tide you over until (if!) this special fully airs across the pond.
#1. Kate fan-girling over Mary Berry
If you’re not familiar, Mary is kind of a big deal in the U.K.: She’s sort of like Martha Stewart, Ina Garten and Miss Marple rolled into one, and her popularity has skyrocketed recently with the success of The Great British Bake Off. That’s why Kate loses her mind a little bit when they meet. The Duchess—who we very rarely get to hear speak, and it turns out is quite soft-spoken—seems a touch starstruck, even babbling slightly. “One of the last things we cooked was your pizza!” she exclaims at one point, touching Mary on the shoulder.
#2. Louis’s unexpected vocabulary
How do we know Kate’s a Mary Berry stan? Well, straight from the duchess’s mouth: Kate tells a story of how one of Louis’s first words was actually “Mary,” because their kitchen shelves are full of Berry’s cookbooks. “Children are really fascinated by faces,” Kate says, “and your face is all over your cooking books. I would say to him, ‘Oh, that’s Mary Berry!’” She said it enough, apparently, that one of Louis’s first words was “his version” of Mary. “He would definitely recognize you if he saw you today,” Kate says.
#3. Unexpected glimpses into the Cambridge kitchen
Like crumbs on the floor, both Will and Kate drop all sorts of tidbits about their home life. Take, for instance, the fact that they grow their own vegetables—Louis’s favourite is beetroot, Charlotte’s are Charlotte potatoes. We also learn that George is, according to his father at least, “a very good drawer.”
#4. Kate is like every other frazzled mother baking birthday cakes in the middle of the night
Lest they sound too perfect, Kate shares two disarmingly normal anecdotes about herself. The first is that she once left the lid off the blender and “ended up with spinach soup on the ceiling” and the second is that she’s got into a habit (or “tradition” as she frames it) of getting over-ambitious with her children’s birthday cakes. “I stay up until midnight with ridiculous amounts of cake mix and icing. It’s far too much…but I love it.”
#5. Wills tried to woo Kate with his culinary prowess
These days, Kate does most of the cooking, although she allows that her husband is “very good at breakfast.” Back in their uni days, however, he “used to cook all sorts of meals, like bolognese sauce,” Kate tells Mary before adding wryly: “I think that’s when he was trying to impress me, Mary.” And speaking of their youth: At one point in the program, Kate carries a tray of mocktails over to a table—and on the way, references a bit of her past we don’t think has ever been reported on before. “This reminds me of my uni days, when I did a bit of waitressing,” she says. “I was terrible!”
#6. There’s some competitive roulade-making
The show reaches peak cute when Will and Kate—under the tutelage of Mary and another British cooking personality, Nadiya Hussein—assemble roulades together. The couple are famously competitive, and, as if they knew it would make for great TV, the canny producers frame the baking as a competition between them. It’s actually a fascinating glimpse into their personalities: Where Wills talks smack and plays the fool (“I’ve made hundreds of roulades” he boasts with mock bravado at one point, teasing Kate to “Keep your eyes on your own roulade, please!”), his wife applies herself with quiet industry, always looking to Mary to tell her she’s doing it properly, giving us a glimpse into what we suspect is a perfectionist’s mind. The gleeful “Ta-da!” with which she reveals her immaculate roulade? That’s somebody who likes to win.
Their dynamic in general, however, is the star of this show: These are two people who are clearly in sync, work like a well-oiled machine, and seem to genuinely like being around each other. No humbug.