The Duchess of Cornwall had extra help decorating the Clarence House tree – and not just from a guardsman.

Children from the Helen & Douglas House hospice in Oxfordshire, who traditionally lend a hand in person, watched online as the Christmas baubles they had made were hung.

Camilla, 73, said: “It’s not going to be a Christmas like others.

“We just have to make the best of it.”

The Duchess carried on her annual tradition of decorating her Christmas tree with her special helpers despite coronavirus restrictions.

Camilla beams in chat as soldier looks on beside the tree

Every December Camilla throws open the doors of Clarence House to youngsters suffering from serious, life-limiting conditions for an unforgettable festive party.

But with Covid leaving the youngsters from Helen & Douglas House hospice in Oxfordshire housebound, the royal decided to bring a little Christmas magic to them instead.

She arranged for the children to link up with her by the Christmas tree in her royal residence via video link, and decorate her tree virtually.

The kids chat to Camilla via video link

Each of the ten children had made a bauble with their name on which was hung for them on the glittering centrepiece in the hallway.

Camilla told the children: “I really miss having you all here. It’s not the same without you.

“It is one of the highlights of my year, Christmas tree decorating, so we thought we had to do something to make it come to life today.”

The guardsman hangs a bauble in a hard to reach spot

The duchess also arranged for the children to each receive a Buckingham Palace gift shop goody bag, including a toy Corgi, a guardsman Christmas decoration, a crown-topped pencil, stickers and a book by Charlie Mackesy.

During the video call Camilla urged Brits to “make the best of it” for Christmas before plans were thrown into chaos.

The duchess was asked how her Christmas was going to pan out and replied: “Well I don’t really know.

Her carriage awaits

“They are changing things every day.

“Every day we are going somewhere, and then it changes.

“It’s not going to be a Christmas like others this year.

Kids made the baubles

“And we have just got to make the best of it.

“We’ve got to talk to our families, it’s just a question of trying to find the safest way to do it.”

Helen & Douglas House, which opened in 1982, is the world’s first children’s hospice and cares for terminally ill children and their families from Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties.

A helping hand

Camilla said: “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.”

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