The Duchess of Cornwall welcomed children from Helen & Douglas House children’s hospice and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity to Clarence House last week, bringing back the festive tradition that is much-loved by many royal watchers.
The opportunity presented to the children was to help decorate the Christmas tree at the royal residence of Prince Charles and Camilla, once occupied by the Queen Mother.
The Duchess has hosted the event for the last 14 years, but was forced to cancel last year’s in-person event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, the celebrations were held virtually. Instead of the children coming to Clarence House, Camilla ordered in a bauble with each child’s name on and hosted a video call for the children to direct the tree decorating.
Last year, the Royal received assistance from a guardsman called Charlie, who was responsible for finding the right decoration and hanging them as the children gave instructions.
Camilla noted how ‘it wasn’t the same’ without the children last year. She added: “It’s just magical to have them here. Such a special, special event for me. It makes my year.”
The children were greeted by Camilla’s equerry, Captain Edward Andersen of the Welsh Guards, who invited the first child to pick the decoration before using his sword to place it on the tree.
One of the children, Oscar Richards, asked to try on Captain Andersen’s iconic bearskin. The Duchess of Cornwall quickly grabbed it from his head before she placed it on Oscar’s and queried ‘is that quite heavy?’
We’re feeling festive here at Clarence House! ✨ ?
The Duchess of Cornwall is Patron of both charities. pic.twitter.com/FaiBKNF5F8
— The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (@ClarenceHouse) December 15, 2021
After the children decorated the stunning tree at Clarence House, they were treated to a dinner of sausages and mashed potatoes served by the Duchess in the dining room.
As an extra special surprise, the children also received a performance by the Band of the Welsh Guards and a festive video message from Mr. Tumble of CBeebies fame.
Clare Periton, CEO of Helen & Douglas House, a children’s hospice in Oxfordshire, told the Duchess: “On behalf of both of the charities we are so pleased to be here. This is something that makes memories for all, our children, is is so very very special. Thank you for your hospitality, your generosity. I think we have all had a dark 18 months and this has been a shining star, so thank you so much.”
Ms Periton added: “I think having the children be able to come in person has been so special. It is absolutely about making memories for them. This is magical, special and I think something that will sustain them through difficult times for a long time to come.”
Her Royal Highness became Patron of Helen & Douglas House in 2007.
Camilla is also patron of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, a charity which provides specialist nurses and support for seriously ill children.