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Mary Berry was once arrested for drug smuggling – and her response was beyond brilliant

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Kayleigh Dray
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Mary Berry laughs

Mary Berry has revealed that she was once arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling – but, despite the “alarming” nature of the situation, she couldn’t resist serving a little sass to US customs officers.

Don’t be fooled: Mary Berry might seem like a sweet and doting grandmother (complete with an array of delicious homemade cakes), but she’s also a badass businesswoman, a talented baker, and a seasoned TV star.

Still, though… we always assumed that Berry’s controversial – and now infamous – Spaghetti Bolognese recipe was the closest she’s ever come to committing an actual crime.

So you can imagine our surprise when Berry recently let slip that she was once locked up in a cell on suspicion of drug smuggling.

Sitting down to chat about her new TV programme, Britain’s Best Home Cook, on The Graham Norton Show, Berry somehow ended up on the topic of US customs.

And, much to Norton and the audience’s surprise, the ‘Queen of Cakes’ went on to explain that she was arrested after airport security mistook the bags of sugar and flour she was carrying in her luggage for class A drugs.

“I was arrested 25 years ago. I was going to the US to do some cookery demonstrations and was worried that there might be problems so I weighed out all the ingredients – flour, sugar – and put them all in little plastic bags,” said Berry.

Which all sounds reasonable enough, in our opinion. However, it seems it’s not just humans who are fans of Berry’s baking.

“When I arrived at the airport the sniffer dogs made a beeline for me,” she shared.

“Suddenly I was surrounded by uniformed people and my assistant and I were put in separate cells. It was alarming.”

When Berry was asked if she was going to make any money from her ‘haul’, however, she made a point of serving up some seriously dry wit.

She told them: “I do and my fee has already been agreed.”

It’s the least we’d expect from our ‘Golden Berry’, who has delivered some pretty acerbic one-liners over the years.

Our favourite, of course, is when the baker revealed that she’d forced her husband to propose three times before she finally agreed to marry him.

“I do remember the first proposal,” she said during an episode of Mary Berry Everyday, “and I think you were drunk.”

Her husband readily agreed, replying: “Well, I might have been. It’s a big step, and you don’t go into something like that without a bit of fortification.”

Berry, however, revealed that she was not a fan of his reliance on Dutch courage – so much so that she rejected his proposal outright.

“I can remember telling you that you were drunk and thinking, ‘I’m not going to have anything to do with this man’. But you did come back.”

Unsurprisingly, though, the future Mr Berry’s confidence was shattered after his unsuccessful first proposal – and he came back even tipsier the second time around. And Mary, once again, turned him down flat.

It wasn’t until the third time, when Hunnings really felt as if he had nothing left to lose, that the Queen of Cakes finally accepted his marriage proposal.

“Third time I think I said – from memory – that ‘I can’t go on like this’,” he recalled. “I said, ‘I’m getting on in age, so either it’s yes or no.’”

The couple went on to tie the knot at Charlcombe Church in Bath – and they made sure to keep their 1966 nuptials as purse-friendly as possible. As they perused their wedding album on camera, Berry happily pointed out that she bagged her gown for the bargain price of a fiver.

And, of course, she baked her own wedding cake. Natch.

Mary Berry’s appearance on The Graham Norton Show will air tonight (20 April) at 10.35pm on BBC One.

Image: Getty 

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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