Mary Berry reveals Prince Phillip is a BBQ king

Prince Phillip the BBQ King! Mary Berry reveals late Duke of Edinburgh was a whizz behind the grill – cooking Sandringham game – and says she once said NO to lunch with the Queen

  • Mary Berry was speaking at the BFI Radio Times Festival in London on Friday
  • Doyenne of British baking revealed anecdotes about her experiences with the royal family through the years, speaking to broadcaster Claudia Winkleman
  • Said corgis, the Queen’s beloved dogs, would be taken away by a ‘man in white gloves’ after spending time with the monarch
  • Prince Phillip told her once at a lunch that he loved BBQ-ing and would cook Sandringham game, saying ‘he really knew what he was talking about’ 

Mary Berry has been sharing anecdotes about her time spent with the royal family over the decades – including discussing BBQ tips with a ‘chatty’ Prince Phillip at an intimate lunch hosted by the Queen, some time before he died last year.

Speaking at the BFI Radio Times Festival in London, the doyenne of British cooking told broadcaster Claudia Winkleman about attending a family lunch with the Queen and her late husband – and a whole host of corgis – in attendance. 

The 87-year-old told the audience that she originally turned down the invitation because she was ‘double-booked’, having already committed to appearing at a ticketed event at Earlham Hall in Norfolk.

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King of the barbie! The Duke of Edinburgh is pictured at the annual garden party at the Palace of Holyrood house in Edinburgh in 2017. Speaking at the BFI Radio Times Festival in London this weekend, Mary Berry revealed Prince Phillip is an accomplished BBQ cook

Describing how she was ‘alone in the kitchen’ when she took the call from the Palace, she admitted that she initially thought it was a wind-up, saying: ‘I didn’t believe it was from the Palace, I thought it was my son Thomas mucking about with his friends.’

After turning down the offer because of the prior commitment, the baking legend eventually accepted and says she began to decide what to wear, plumping for a dress in the sale from John Lewis. 

She said: ‘I had a girl, Victoria, to look after me and I explained I wanted something with sleeves, not too décolleté, not too short and she had a rail for me and the one at the end was in the sale, down to £54 and I bought it.

Although the Queen of cooking didn’t specify when she attended the lunch, she told the audience that she was seated next to Prince Phillip and soon discovered his love outdoor cooking.

Regal cook up! Queen Elizabeth pictured with Mary at the RHS Chelsea Flower show in 2017. The former GBBO judge also revealed she once said NO to lunch with the Queen

During the 2019 show in which the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge teamed up with Mary Berry for a BBC One show, Prince William enlisted the help of former Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain to help him roll up a roulade

She said: ‘It was just twelve of us and it was so clever because they had an oval table and usually you have mum and dad on either end, don’t you? But she and Phillip sat in the middle, which was so clever, and I sat next to Prince Phillip.’

Describing her chat with Prince Phillip, she said the royal was ‘very chatty’ and told her he was ‘the expert on barbecues and when he was in Sandringham, he used the game and used to put stuffing in them’, adding: ‘He really knew what he was talking about.’ 

The cook also revealed that another highlight was meeting the Queen’s corgis, saying they were ‘running about’ before a ‘chap with white gloves’ took them away.

In 2019, Berry filmed a Christmas special with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, A Berry Royal Christmas for BBC One, in which the couple shared how Prince William had tried to woo Kate in their early days of courtship with his cooking skills. 

The Duchess of Cambridge said: ‘In university days he used to cook all sorts of meals. I think that’s when he was trying to impress me, Mary! Things like Bolognese sauce, and things like that.’

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