Camilla's all Christmassy! The Duchess of Cornwall is in full 'grandmother mode' as she invites sick children to decorate the tree at her Clarence House home
- Camilla invited children with serious and terminal illnesses into her home today
- She invited the youngsters to help her decorate the Christmas tree at the house
- The children are patients at the Helen and Douglas House hospice
The Duchess of Cornwall was in full 'grandmother mode' as she hosted a party for some very special young children today.
Camilla, 69, invited youngsters with both serious and terminal illnesses from the Helen and Douglas House hospice in Oxfordshire, as well as a group helped by Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's charity, to her London home, Clarence House, to help decorate one of its magnificent Christmas trees.
Looking festive in a beautiful emerald green dress by Bruce Oldfield, the royal - who has five young grandchildren of her own - didn't stand on ceremony and knelt down to help them decorate the fir.
The Duchess of Cornwall went into 'full grandmother mode' this afternoon as she invited youngsters with both serious and terminal illnesses into her home at Clarence House
'You tell me where you want me to put it,' said the duchess to Violet Webster (who proudly told her she was two and three-quarters), who was born with a hole in her heart.
Clare Periton, chief executive of Helen and Douglas House, which when it was founded 34 years ago was the first dedicated children's hospice in the world, said: 'The Duchess has grandchildren of her own and you can see her in full grandmother mode today.
'She's a proper grandma, you can tell. This afternoon means as much to her as it does to us.
The children were helping Camilla to decorate her Christmas tree in her royal abode
'You tell me where you want me to put it,' said the duchess to Violet Webster (pictured), who was born with a hole in her heart
'What's so wonderful is that it gives these children and their parents some very special memories. It's not always easy to say but many of these children have terminal illnesses and will die, so it's a very special memory for their families to have.
'None of them can believe how happy and relaxed the party is. One of the children was tired and sat down on a chair to have a look at a clock that had caught his eye - he is obsessed by clocks.
'When his mother asked what it was she was told the chair was a Chippendale and that the clock was worth even more!
Ronnie Edwards, who suffers from the bleeding disorder ITP, attended the event with his mother Stephanie
Camilla even arranged for Ronnie to have a bowl of tomato ketchup brought in from her kitchen to have with his sausages and mash
'But the Duchess's staff insisted he sit down and take as long as he wanted. There's no standing on ceremony here.'
It is the eleventh time Camilla has held the event and before the festivities took place she took the time to speak to every child and their family.
Neive Trainor, six, who suffers from seizures, was practising her curtsey as she waited and carried it off beautifully as she waited for the royal.
'Well what a beautiful curtesy,' Camilla declared, ' and your lovely red shoes. They are gorgeous.'
Dressed in a festive jumper Ronnie was the perfect helped for the Duchess to decorate her tree
Her mother, Fiona Williams, from Teeside, said afterwards: 'We can't believe she has invited us here. What a wonderful day. Neive has so been looking forward to it.'
Blake Morris, seven from near Cardiff, South Wales, who suffers from epilepsy, was with his mother Anita Edwards, who told the Duchess: 'We can't thank you enough for inviting us.'
One of the stars of the day was six-year-old Ronnie Edwards, who was with his mother Stephanie, from Cambridge.
Ronnie, who suffers from the bleeding disorder ITP, was dressed in a festive Christmas jumper that was much admired by Camilla, who even arranged for him to have a bowl of tomato ketchup brought in from her kitchen to have with his sausages and mash.
Today marks the eleventh time Camilla has held the event for the children at her home
She also persuaded her assistant equerry and Welsh Guardsman, Captain Matthew Wright, to let Ronnie pose with his sword, while the other nine visitors, aged between two and 26, tried his bearskin on for size.
Captain Wright also delighted the children by managing to place a decoration on the Christmas tree with his sword. 'Look at their faces - no pressure,' teased the Duchess.
She then opened the doors theatrically to the library area where a decorated table was groaning with plates of festive snowman cakes and biscuits.
The Duchess rolled up her sleeves and handed out plates of sausages and mash, arranged to form a smiling face, as well handing out goodie bags to the children.
Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity provides nurses to support sick children with serious illnesses and their families - believing that every child has the right to a more Marvellous life, no matter how short it may be.
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