Eleven year old Sienna Keuser from Marlborough, was one of nine children from Helen & Douglas House children’s hospice, invited to join HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to decorate the Christmas tree at Clarence House.
Each year, The Duchess of Cornwall invites children from Helen & Douglas House with life-shortening conditions to decorate the Christmas tree at Clarence House. Keen to continue her annual tradition this December, this event took place virtually on December 16.
Her Royal Highness became Patron of Helen & Douglas House in 2007 and this will be the eleventh time that families supported by the charity have been invited to decorate the Clarence House Christmas tree.
The Duchess of Cornwall welcomed the children and their families and spoke individually to each family asking them about what they wanted Santa to bring them for Christmas and discussed how Helen & Douglas House helped their family.
The hospice had sent Clarence House a homemade bauble engraved with each of the children’s names. The children or their families chose where they wanted their decoration placed on the tree and Captain Charles Ross, Assistant Equerry, dressed in his full guardsman’s uniform with a busby to the delight of the children, then placed their decorations on the tree, in some cases with his sword to reach the higher branches.
Nathan Best from Banbury who loves singing when he comes to the hospice, sang ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ to the Duchess of Cornwall.
Clare Periton, Chief Executive of Helen & Douglas House said, “The children and families who took part had such a magical time. It is such a great privilege to have The Duchess of Cornwall as our Patron. This virtual event was a wonderful occasion and a real success. All our families really enjoyed the virtual Christmas tree decorating with HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. Nathan’s wonderful rendition of ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ for HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was beautifully sung and enjoyed by everyone. For our families, Christmas is a time when they can make precious memories which they will treasure forever and this will certainly be one that they will always remember.
Our aim this Christmas is to ensure that none of our families feel alone or isolated over the festive season, giving them the reassurance that we are there to give them our 24/7 emergency lifeline of care if needed.”
Janeta, Sienna’s mum said, “The recent virtual decoration of the Clarence House Christmas tree, with the Duchess of Cornwall was a cherished experience for both my daughter and I must confess myself. The Duchess of Cornwall was instantly engaging, showing compassion and interest in all aspects of my daughter’s life and the areas she cares about. For a minute or two, my daughter was able to envisage herself living life as a princess, which brought a broad smile to my face.
The work The Duchess of Cornwall does as a Patron of Helen & Douglas House, who offer respite and much more, for families and children with complex medical conditions, is truly remarkable and uplifting. I cannot imagine how my life would be without the assistance and support Helen & Douglas House provide. And, with the engagement of HRH Duchess of Cornwall, it has made this Christmas truly feel special!”