Watch: Duchess of Cornwall decorates tree via videolink with hospice children
The Duchess of Cornwall encouraged people to make the best of Christmas as she decorated the Clarence House tree via videolink.
Each year, Camilla invites children and their families from Helen and Douglas House children’s hospice to decorate the tree at the royal home, but this year the event could not take place.
Instead, children joined the duchess via video call, directing her equerry - Captain Charlie Ross - to place their baubles around the tree.
Though the event was hosted on Wednesday 16 December, details were released after London and the south east was plunged into Tier 4, throwing Camilla’s own Christmas plans into disarray too.
Asked about her plans, Camilla had said at the event: “Well I don’t really know. They are changing things every day. Every day we are going somewhere, and then it changes. I suppose we shall just be at home and see who we are going to be able to see.
“It’s not going to be a Christmas like others this year. And we have just got to make the best of it. Even if it is just meeting up outside or in the garden.
“We’ve got to talk to our families, it’s just a question of trying to find the safest way to do it. “
The Queen, 94, had already said she and her husband Prince Philip, 99, would have a quiet Christmas at Windsor, their first away from Sandringham in more than 30 years.
Windsor was placed into Tier 4 over the weekend, meaning the Queen won’t be able to see any family.
Prince Charles and Camilla, in Gloucestershire, remain in Tier 2, which means they will be allowed to see their Christmas bubble, but only on 25 December.
Tier 4 also impacts the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children, who will likely face a small Christmas at Kensington Palace now. They usually go to Sandringham, though in 2016, they spent the time in Bucklebury with the Middletons.
During the video call, Camilla, 73, spoke to Vicky Newell, whose seven-year-old daughter Jessica was born with a severe neurological condition, asking if the colours of the tree brought Jessica pleasure.
Ms Newell replied: “I think it does, yes, it gives her a lot of joy. And we can’t thank Helen and Douglas House enough, they have given us a lot of support over the years. We couldn’t do it without them.”
The duchess replied: “No, they are brilliant. Usually, I like having you all here, it’s very exciting getting everybody in and having lunch and seeing the Christmas tree. But like many things this year, it’s gone by the by. So we are doing the best here, with these screens, that we can.”
Camilla said about Helen and Douglas House hospice: “They are an incredible lot there, aren’t they? It’s so important to have someone at the end of the line you can call 24 hours a day.
“They just look after all these children so well. I always notice when I go in the atmosphere is very uplifting. It’s a very happy atmosphere.”
The duchess also sent each child a Buckingham Palace goody bag with a toy corgi, a guardsman Christmas decoration, a crown-topped pencil, stickers and a book by Charlie Mackesy.
The gifts were taken to each child’s home by the Royal Brougham, the horse and cart that takes post between Buckingham Palace and Clarence House.
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