Duchess Camilla dishes up lunch & decorates Christmas tree with ill children at Clarence House

The Duchess of Cornwall today hosted her annual Christmas tree decorating party and lunch for seriously ill children at Clarence House. It is a favoured festive event for many royal watchers, and today did not disappoint.

Children, supported by Helen & Douglas House and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, were invited to Camilla’s London home for the event. She is patron of both institutions and appeared in a festive red frock for the event.

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During the event, the Duchess invited the youngsters and their families and carers to decorate Clarence House’s Christmas tree.

Opened in 1982, Helen & Douglas House was the first children’s hospice in the world and since then, the charity has been providing care for terminally ill children and their families from Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity was founded 25 years ago. Focusing on chronic conditions such as epilepsy and acquired brain injury, the organisation provides expert help to over 21,000 children and their families every year.

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Her Royal Highness wanted to meet all the children personally, including Kadian Phillips, a seven-year-old boy who suffers from sickle cell anaemia.

Fortunately, the condition never interfered with his love for dancing, as he showed off his moonwalk and high kick in the Clarence House library. According to his mother, Louise: “He loves everything to do with Michael Jackson.”

The Duchess of Cornwall assists Meriel with a decoration (Clarence House)

The Duchess of Cornwall also met 11-year-old Meriel, who suffers from nemaline myopathy. Her parents are called Charles and Camilla. What a funny coincidence!

Meghan’s mother, Vicki, said: “Camilla was so down to Earth, so natural. She had a fantastic rapport with the children.”

Camilla also met eight year old Megan Attwood and asked if she had chosen her sparkly pink dress herself.

Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, with children supported by both charities that were invited to decorate the Christmas tree and meet reindeer at Clarence House.

Emily Bell, her Roald Dahl Nurse Specialist, said: “She has had a long year with lots of testing and she’s a very stoic young lady and they are an amazing family.”

The children also had the opportunity to meet Captain Charlie Ross of the Welsh Guards, equerry of Prince Charles and Camilla. The Duchess said: “He’s a natural with them” and joked that she might hire him for every children’s party.

Ross used his sword to put a decoration on the tree, much to everyone’s delight.

After the finishing touches were made, Camilla then served lunch to the children in the dining room. It was sausages and mash on the menu today, with the Duchess handing out plates of food, and spooning gravy onto the dishes for the children.

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Speaking to the guests, she said: “I say this every year but to me, this is the start of Christmas, I never really think about it until I’m in front of my Christmas tree with you all.

“I know sometimes it’s not easy but to see them all today, here and looking so happy, it’s a real treat for me and I look forward to it every single year.”

The Duchess also said that that the parents, carers and nurses of children with such complex needs were doing a ‘wonderful job’.

At the end of the event, the Duchess was presented with a bouquet of her favourite flower, yellow primroses.

Her Royal Highness then invited the children and their parents to go to Clarence House gardens to meet two reindeer – Dancer and Blitzen. There, she helped the kids to feed the two animals with moss and gifted tinkling bells to their owners.

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It was giggles all round, though, when Dancer tried to make a break for freedom in the gardens – and trampled a box hedge. We’re sure garden-proud Prince Charles won’t mind this time!

Louise, Kadian Phillips mother, praised the Duchess saying: “I can’t believe we have been invited here, she is so kind to put this on for the children and has been so welcoming and easy to talk to”.

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