The Queen welcomed Santa Claus and reindeer to her home as she hosted a Clarence House Christmas party for poorly children.

Youngsters with life-shortening conditions and severe illnesses who are supported by the organisations, Helen & Douglas House and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, enjoyed a fun-filled visit to the royal residence.

They were treated to a lunch of bangers and mash, presents from Father Christmas, decorated a tree with the help of the Queen’s equerry – and fed Dancer and Blitzen the reindeer.

The Queen paid tribute to the youngsters’ carers and nurses from the two charities which she supports as patron, who were also invited to the event.

Clarence House Christmas tree
The Queen watches as her equerry places a decoration on the Christmas tree with his sabre (Kin Cheung/PA)

In an impromptu speech, Camilla told her guests: “I think this is the 18th year that we’ve had this party… and I can tell you from me and everybody at Clarence House, it really does mean (a lot) and we look forward to it every year.

“Also I’d like to say thank you to all the nurses and carers from Helen & Douglas House and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity for doing what they do – helping so many parents, for helping the wonderful children and making their lives easier.”

Clarence House Christmas tree
Camilla strokes a reindeer as one of her young guests watches (Kin Cheung/PA)

Camilla helped the youngsters choose decorations for the Clarence House Christmas tree and her equerry, Major Oliver Plunket, used his sabre to hook the trinkets and place them on branches as the children watched.

Four-year-old Yasir Ibrahim, who has severe hearing loss and sickle cell anaemia, stole the show as he ran around excitedly and held on to Major Plunket’s arm as he lifted the decorations into position.