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Queen Consort Camilla welcomes seriously ill children to Clarence House to help decorate her tree

The Queen Consort brought a sprinkling of Christmas magic to a group of seriously ill children today.

They were treated as princes and princesses for the day as they were joined at Clarence House by Father Christmas, two of his reindeer and an equerry in bearskin and full Welsh Guards uniform using the tip of his sword to lift decorations and help them to dress the Christmas tree.

Every year Camilla invites children supported by two of her charities, Helen & Douglas House and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, for the very special event in London.

But there was an extra frisson in the air for the guests as, while it was the 16th annual event she has held, it was her first time in her new role as Queen Consort.

The Queen Consort (left) with Blixen the reindeer, as children supported by Helen and Douglas House and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, decorate the Christmas tree at Clarence House in London

‘It’s always a treat for me to start the Christmas season here. It literally kicks it off for us,’ Her Majesty said, thanking the two charities for the work they do and the children’s parents for their love and commitment to caring for them.

The eleven youngsters looked on in open-mouthed wonder when the doors of the morning room were opened up to reveal a towering Christmas tree and the King and Queen Consort’s assistant equerry, Captain Ed Andersen, waiting to help them decorate it.

Helped by Camilla – wearing a festive red wool crepe dress by Fiona Clare – some went back repeated times with decorations as five musicians from the Band of the Welsh Guards played Christmas carols.

She got the giggles as one little boy sped past the tree and into the dining room in his little electric wheelchair. ‘Ooops, we almost lost one there,’ she said, smiling as his mother chased after him. 

Children were treated as princes and princesses for the day as they were joined at Clarence House (pictured) by Father Christmas and two of his reindeer

Children were treated as princes and princesses for the day as they were joined at Clarence House (pictured) by Father Christmas and two of his reindeer

While she is married to the King, Camilla wasn¿t above personally helping to hand out plates of specially made dishes including sausage and mash in the dining room to suit each child¿s dietary requirements

While she is married to the King, Camilla wasn’t above personally helping to hand out plates of specially made dishes including sausage and mash in the dining room to suit each child’s dietary requirements

An equerry in bearskin and full Welsh Guards uniform used the tip of his sword to lift decorations and help the children to dress the Christmas tree

An equerry in bearskin and full Welsh Guards uniform used the tip of his sword to lift decorations and help the children to dress the Christmas tree

Among the thrilled young guests was Gwendolyn Dainty, eight, who has cerebral palsy and a whole range of other conditions.

Her mother Kieri Dainty from Burford, Oxfordshire, surveyed her daughter enjoying the moment in a green dress and a tiara.

‘For her this is magical,’ she said. ‘A Queen, Christmas trees, Father Christmas and a palace. It doesn’t get much better than that.’

She also described how much it meant for them as parents in terms of making memories and enjoying some respite from the day to day responsibility.

‘Caring is a full time job,’ she added.

In the Clarence House dining room Gwendolyn and other children tucked into a lunch of bangers and mash and other sweet treats.

Helped by Camilla (pictured left) - wearing a festive red wool crepe dress by Fiona Clare - some children went back repeated times with decorations as five musicians from the Band of the Welsh Guards played Christmas carols

Helped by Camilla (pictured left) – wearing a festive red wool crepe dress by Fiona Clare – some children went back repeated times with decorations as five musicians from the Band of the Welsh Guards played Christmas carols

Every year Camilla invites children supported by two of her charities, Helen & Douglas House and Roald Dahl¿s Marvellous Children¿s Charity, for the very special event in London

Every year Camilla invites children supported by two of her charities, Helen & Douglas House and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, for the very special event in London

‘Cookies! We are lucky,’ an excited Father Christmas said to royal aides nearby. ‘I would dive in there but I’m not going to before the children have had one at least.’

While she is married to the King, Camilla wasn’t above personally helping to hand out plates of specially made dishes including sausage and mash in the dining room to suit each child’s dietary requirements.

Two reindeer, Dancer and Blitzen – brought from Lapland into London via Stroud, Gloucestershire – were outside waiting for the children in the royal garden after they had finished.

The young guests, joined by the Queen Consort, happily fed the two reindeer with lichen fresh from the Artic Circle. ‘They are very sweet and will clearly be very busy soon,’ Camilla said.

The royal became patron of Helen & Douglas House, a hospice and respite centre based in the Thames Valley, in 2007. Ten years later she also took Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, which helps nurse 250,000 youngsters across the UK.

¿It¿s always a treat for me to start the Christmas season here. It literally kicks it off for us,¿ Her Majesty (left) said, thanking the two charities for the work they do and the children¿s parents for their love and commitment to caring for them

‘It’s always a treat for me to start the Christmas season here. It literally kicks it off for us,’ Her Majesty (left) said, thanking the two charities for the work they do and the children’s parents for their love and commitment to caring for them

Two reindeer, Dancer and Blixen - brought from Lapland into London via Stroud, Gloucestershire - were outside waiting for the children in the royal garden after they had finished

Two reindeer, Dancer and Blixen – brought from Lapland into London via Stroud, Gloucestershire – were outside waiting for the children in the royal garden after they had finished

Felicity Dhal, widow of the children¿s author and founder of the charity, paid tribute to Camilla (pictured) and her support for the annual Christmas party

Felicity Dhal, widow of the children’s author and founder of the charity, paid tribute to Camilla (pictured) and her support for the annual Christmas party

Felicity Dhal, widow of the children’s author and founder of the charity, paid tribute to Camilla and her support for the annual Christmas party.

‘She is the most amazing woman. I just think she is unbelievable,’ she said, praising the way she spoke to all the families and staff whenever she met them. ‘It’s exhausting but she does it with such grace.’

Mrs Dahl, 83, who founded the charity in 1991 shortly after her husband’s death, expressed her pride in her charity’s nurses and other staff and the support it has received from Camilla.

She said: ‘I just think it is one of the most delightful events that anyone could be privileged to come to.’

Clare Periton, chief executive of Helen & Douglas House, has been coming to Clarence House for several years but admitted that Camilla’s elevation to Queen Consort had made the day extra exciting.

‘I’ve been telling everyone I’m going to London to see the Queen,’ she said.

The eleven youngsters looked on in open-mouthed wonder when the doors of the morning room were opened up to reveal a towering Christmas tree (pictured right) and the King and Queen Consort¿s assistant equerry, Captain Ed Andersen, waiting to help them decorate it

The eleven youngsters looked on in open-mouthed wonder when the doors of the morning room were opened up to reveal a towering Christmas tree (pictured right) and the King and Queen Consort’s assistant equerry, Captain Ed Andersen, waiting to help them decorate it

The young guests, joined by the Queen Consort, happily fed the two reindeer with lichen fresh from the Artic Circle. ¿They are very sweet and will clearly be very busy soon,¿ Camilla said

The young guests, joined by the Queen Consort, happily fed the two reindeer with lichen fresh from the Artic Circle. ‘They are very sweet and will clearly be very busy soon,’ Camilla said

Meanwhile the King continued a week of busy engagements at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of his Business In The Community (BITC) organisation in Westminster.

He told guests: ‘We’re only as good as the marvellous people we helped.’

He founded BITC in 1982 and it has become the longest-established membership organisation dedicated to fostering responsible business practices, particularly through the Race at Work initiative.

Sandra Kerr, the Race Equality Director for BITC, praised the King’s foresight on the issue.

She said: ‘For me, the big thing is in 1995 he was convening conversations about race with business leaders.

‘To say “look, what does the future look like, what action do we need to take to ensure we’re as inclusive as possible.”‘

It comes as the Royal Family is braced for further attacks from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry when the first episode of their ‘explosive’ Netflix series is released on Thursday, with the Duke speaking of a ‘hierarchy in the family’, a ‘dirty game’, and warning ‘We know the full truth’. 

If you enjoyed this story…

Here, the Princess of Wales and the Queen Consort wear brooches showing a portrait of late Queen Elizabeth II for a Buckingham Palace reception.

Meanwhile, the Queen Consort wears her mother-in-law’s George VI Sapphire tiara for the second time as she arrives at the Diplomatic Corps reception.

And the Princess of Wales makes a stunning statement in Jenny Packham gown.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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