For twelve years in a row now, Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, has hosted children from Helen & Douglas House, of which she is Patron, at Clarence House for a Christmas party where they decorate the tree and have lunch. This year’s lunch took place yesterday, December 13.
[Clarence House @ClarenceHouse]
In addition to the Helen & Douglas House kids, children from Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity were present. Clarence House also announced that Camilla has become the new Royal Patron of that charity.
Helen & Douglas House enables young people (0-35 years) with life-shortening conditions to live as well and as fully as possible to the end of their lives by providing palliative care at a specialist level for young people, through medical and nursing expertise, emotional and practical support.
Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity provides healthcare for seriously ill children. The charity creates and funds specialist nursing posts within the NHS across the UK.
The children spent time decorating the Christmas tree – with the help of assistant equerry, Welsh Guardsman Jack Farmelo, who used his sword to put ornaments on the tree – before Camilla helped serve lunch and handed out gift bags.
In an off-the-cuff speech, Camilla said:
“May I wish you a very Happy Christmas. I always feel like today is the start of Christmas. It is such a joy to meet all of you. I hope the children have enjoyed themselves as much as I have.”
More from the Daily Mail:
“Along with the children she met was adorable Anthony Brine, five, who suffers from a painful genetic condition which causes his body to develop blisters both inside and out, from any kind of friction, called recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa. He is under the care of Helen House Hospice. Camilla admired his festive jumper and Santa socks, and asked him what he wanted from Father Christmas.
“‘A surprise,’ he said merrily (although his mother later admitted that there were five other things on his list). ‘Oh, how sweet,’ the duchess cooed.
“Anthony’s mother, Daniela Brine, 29, said his condition was discovered at birth when the midwives rubbed his little hands and feet and his skin came away. She explained that she and her husband, Richard, have an older daughter who does not have the condition, but that with a one in four chance of another child inheriting it, they had reluctantly decided not to have another child and focus their attention on Anthony who needs daily care. Barely 5,000 children in the UK suffer from the condition in various forms but Anthony’s is so severe that it is the equivalent of experiencing third degree burns on a daily basis. Despite this he still attends a mainstream school.
“‘He is such a brave little boy,’ she said, ‘and copes with his condition so bravely. He knows what he can and can’t do. It is just so amazing to be here. What a wonderful thing to invite us to. It really feels like a friend has asked us into their home. ‘
“The Duchess also admired the red bow tie sported by Perfect Akerejola, seven, from Bexhill who has sickle cell disease and is helped by the Ronald Dahl charity. ‘You look so smart, did you chose it yourself?’ asked Camilla to a proud-looking Perfect. As the duchess left he said knowledgeably: ‘She is the deputy Queen.'”
35 thoughts on “Camilla hosts Helen & Douglas House kids for 12th year in a row”
This is what royalty is about. Serving others and doing good for people. Heck, a very Christian thing to do indeed. I love this event so much and am so glad you’ve covered it again KMR! The best event of the year, no far, rivaled only by Madeline’s tea party.
Ellie, one can see that Camilla is there to serve her very special guests . And she interacts with each child with warmth and graciousness. Camilla and the Palace staff are totally invested to provide a memorable event for the children and their parents and caretakers. The beautifully festive surroundings, activities and sweets create warm memories at a difficult time.
This is nice. I find myself looking more at Camilla & Sophie these days. They seems to be doing a lot of work that goes unnoticed. Thanks for including this KMR
Camilla is great at such events and hosting.It all seems warm and wellcoming.
I’m glad Camilla does this,she interacts with people so well!
One of my favourite events leading up to Christmas, hosted by Camilla. I like how the children helped decorate the tree and have a Welsh Guard there as well. Camilla interacts so well with the children.
This and the Well Child Awards with Harry are my favorite BRF events each year. Even though the royals do many events with kids, these consistently focus on the children and their stories and family love/struggles.
Camilla and Harry shine but somehow never take away from the attention on the true heroes.
What a way to brighten the holidays for these children and their families!
Twelve years and nary a comment about skipping a year. Some royals want to decrease expectations for annual events. Kate, are you listening?
People have mixed views and feelings about Camilla. You cannot deny that fact that she gets out there and works. She is a wonderful patron to her charities. This a great event. A wonderful gesture to young people that are struggling in they’re day to day lives. That we all take for granted our health. So this warms my heart. A very Christian thing to do. Camilla never takes the emphasis off who and what the day is about. Thank you KMR for posting about this engagement.
What charities is she patron of?
Ta da! Here’s a list.
God their website is garbage.
No problem, my friend!
Ellie: I gave up trying to make sense of their new website.
It’s great if you are looking for strictly superficial information, but I find it hard to dig deeper because it sends me to the wrong screen and still superficial.
It is total crap. The BRF’s one itself isn’t as horrendous as the PoW/Cambridge/Harry one, but the BRF one is convoluted and more mobile-friendly. The design is very au courant but annoying.
“People have mixed views and feelings about Camilla”
So true Eleanor! But no matter what I take my hat off to Camilla for the causes she supports – like this event, reading and literacy programmes and I support her for getting involved with helping sexual abuse victims through organisations such as Rape Crisis, which offers counselling as well as practical support like the wash bags/ toiletry kits which are distributed at sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) across London to victims who have just undergone a forensic rape kit. After such a horrid experience it must help to make a woman feel human again. And to be given something new, with products which haven’t been used before must go some way to help? The wash bags are of course no solution, but they are a small, tangible gesture designed to help make a difference in the lives of victims in their time of need, while also drawing attention to the issue.
A wonderful event. I hope those kids had a wonderful time, and they and their families have a merry Christmas. Camilla did a great job, as always.
You know how I’ve said that the transplant games (and the community of family I’ve formed) keeps me motivated to keep on going and living for my donor/donor family? Well, in a weird way, I hope that this annual event has the same affect on this children/young adults and motivates them to keep on living so that they can attend as long as they’re able.
I love that Camilla puts everything she’s got in this event and her actions/body language shows how much it means to her. If I were in the UK, I’d do everything I could to attend since it looks like so much fun!
I unabashedly love Camilla.
Thank you, KMR, for making the day of so many of us with this warm posting.
Camilla knows the true spirit of Christmas and shows it every year. Her warmth, her compassion and her willingness to serve others is truly magnificent. I applaud her and wish each and every child, and their loved ones, good health and happy times filled with love.
Kimothy, your special light shines on as does the light of those who helped you get a second chance at living. Peace and love.
Awwww thank you jenny! Hugs!! 🙂
I so enjoy this event so I can only imagine how much fun the participants had being there! I didn’t realize she’s been doing this event for thiat long! She’s always so engaged and not afraid to touch the kids.
To me, she’s chosen charities that she really cares about and it shows.
Thanks for the happy post
This is a great event and shows Camilla understands the meaning of service. Kate needs to learn from this. She is the next most senior female royal and has yet to show any real commitment to anything. It’s been seven years. Time to step up.
Just wonderful. This is such a uniquely touching event and you can see Camilla’s warmth and sincerity in action. A great use of her royal role.
Thanks for this! Never saw it in the press or on tv!
“The beginning of Christmas”….How perfect, and what a lovely sentiment. What I love about Camilla is that she gets up close and personal, and mucks in. She doesn’t just swan in and bestow her fragrant presence for a moment, or bring the magic. I think all the latest royals should shadow her to learn what it means to be really regal and of service and to do it with good humour.
Count me in as a huge fan of this event
I also want to mention Letizia’s visit to Senegal and her work against female genital mutilation. It seems that most other royal families work for causes, and partner with the UN, while it is fluff forever with the BRF (Camilla, Charles, and Sophie excepted). Worthwhile causes are deemed too political, too controversial. I blame the Queen for this, with her 19th century lifestyle and outlook.
This is a lovely event and it looks like everyone enjoys it. It’s a thoughtful thing for Camilla to do. The kids made me tear up a bit – Anthony’s condition is especially sad. It really puts a lot of things into perspective.
Double date. I’m happy Harry has company for these kinds of gatherings. They left early apparently.
Thanks for the photos, I love this event. Like some others, I didn’t realize she’d been doing this event for so long. How wonderful!!
I hope Meghan will do something like this, or Madeleine’s tea party, when she is married. (I’m getting so excited for Meghan and to see what charities she’ll choose!!)
It’s going to be interesting to watch the British Royal Family next year, especially to see what Meghan brings.
This is my favorite event of the year. The Nobels come in second. I just love the way Camilla interacts with these children and their families. Well done again.
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