Yesterday marked one of the most heart-warming events on the year- the annual Christmas tree decorating at Clarence House. Each year the Duchess of Cornwall invites children into Prince Charles and her London home to help them get it ready for Christmas.
The tradition helps the youth, who are suffering from terminal illnesses, take their mind off of their day-in and day-out medical routines.
Along with decorating the Christmas tree, the ten children had lunch with the Duchess, who served them with the help of some of the Clarence House’s staff.
As Patron of Helen and Douglas House hospice in Oxford, half of the children were from there, as they are each year. The other five were from Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.
One of the children was six-year-old Neive Tranior, who suffers from multiple seizures a day which still have not been correctly diagonsed. Along with her mother and nurse, Neive came from Stockton-on-Tees for the outing.
“She was really excited about coming and it’s a bit surreal to be here. The charity arranged for the children to stay in top hotels last night – we were in the Stafford Hotel – and it’s such a wonderful occasion.” said Fiona William, Neive’s mother to The Telegraph.
Chief executive of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, Jane Miles also said: “Our nurses each have case loads ranging from 200 children to 600. It’s wonderful for not just the children, but the nurses to be able to come here, just to have 24 hours out of the melee before Christmas.
“The whole experience has been incredible for the children. We all met up at the Dorchester Hotel this morning and the manager came down with a teddy and a lolly for each child. It has also made such a difference for the children to meet each other, because they are from all over the country and don’t normally meet.”
“This is such a fabulous day, and the children and parents go away with memories that they will never forget, which is particularly precious for parents who eventually lose their children.” said Clare Periton, chief executive of Helen and Douglas House. “You can never underestimate the Duchess’s warmth and her attention to everybody. She is just like a normal grandma.”
Adding to the festivities, Capt Matthew Wright of the Welsh Guards, assistant equerry to Prince Charles, wore his full ceremonial uniform. He delighted the children by sliding decorations onto the branches. He also gave the kids a chance to wear his bearskin and examine the details on his tunic.
Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity is supported by The Telegraph Christmas Charity Appeal, along with Blue Cross and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s charity Heads Together– a campaign to normalise mental health.
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