20 DECEMBER 2007

A group of lucky children in Monaco had an unforgettable holiday experience when Santa Claus dropped into the royal palace to make his deliveries.

In a long-held festive tradition the Monegasque ruler Prince Albert and his sister Princess Stephanie had turned the family's official residence into a giant present-giving arena.

There were enthusiastic scenes as the little ones, eyes wide as saucers, received their gifts, which were rather more substantial than ordinary stocking-fillers. Among the surprises when the wrapping paper was ripped off were toy helicopters, pirate ships and trucks.

Photo: ©
Prince Albert and his sister got into the holiday spirit by throwing a fancy dress party for local childrenPhoto: © Getty ImagesClick on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
Princess Stephanie thrilled their young guests by helping Santa with his dutiesPhoto: © Getty Images