Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, kicked off her Christmas celebrations by inviting a pair of reindeer to help make the day for some sick and terminally ill children.
She helped host a festive lunch of sausages and mashed potatoes while two of Santa’s antlered helpers, Dancer and Blitzen, provided some real-life animal entertainment.
One little girl named Lara held the royal’s hand and exclaimed, “A reindeer, a serious reindeer!”
“Yes, a serious reindeer,” Camilla chuckled, encouraging the youngster to stroke it.
“He tickles!” the little girl squealed.
The fun was part of an annual event that the Duchess throws for the children of Helen & Douglas House, the world’s first children’s hospice in Oxfordshire, which provides medical, emotional and practical support for seriously ill children and their families, as well as youngsters helped by Roald Dahl’s Marvelous Children’s Charity. She is patron of both organizations.
The children and their families were invited to Clarence House, the London home Camilla shares with Prince Charles, to meet the Duchess before being asked to help her decorate a Christmas tree.
Camilla, in an outfit by Bruce Oldfield, and her team served up the sausages, juice, gingerbread cookies and cakes to the children.
Among the guests were Darre Downey, 10, and his mother, Kerrie, who flew over from Belfast. Darre’s mother explained that he suffered a brain tumor and stroke two years ago and was receiving care and support from Roald Dahl’s Marvelous Children’s Charity.
“It’s just such a wonderful event,” she said.
After the lunch, Camilla handed out goodie bags and told the children and their parents, “I hope you’ve all enjoyed your lunch today. I’ve got a surprise for you all outside, but before we go out I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmas. The tree decorating for me is always the start of Christmas.”