The children's ward at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore experienced some magic on Wednesday when Princess Eugenie of York stopped by for a festive visit. Eugenie – who was herself treated at the facility and is now patron – participated in various Christmas-related activities with her little charges. She cut a caring figure as she spoke with patients who were unable to leave their bedside and will be spending Christmas on the ward.
The royal said of her visit: "It was a delight to return to the hospital and spend time with these brave young children and help them forget what they’re going through, especially at Christmas when you just want to be excited about toys, chocolate and Santa. "I'm living proof of the way the RNOH can change people's lives, which is why I offered my support for the Redevelopment Appeal." Lead nurse, Clare Kehoe, added: "The arrival of Princess Eugenie caused lots of excitement in the children's ward - the impact the Princess has had today really has lifted the children's spirits. This time of year is always challenging for our young patients and their families, which is why we went that extra mile to secure an extra special visitor for Christmas."
As someone who suffered from Scoliosis – a condition which causes curvature of the spine – Egenie's festive contribution carries extra significance. The royal was herself a patient when she was a child, so no-one is better placed to relate to other youngsters in the same situation. She is also a keen fundraiser for the hospital, and in the summer took part in a gruelling all-night bike race around London which raised around £9,000. The money was split to support the RNOH and the construction of a cricket stadium in Rwanda. "When I was 12, I had an operation at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and they corrected the curving in my spine," the Princess told Sky News after her race. "I've got two 12-inch rods and eight screws going up my back keeping me straight and they fuse together with my spine so now I can't really live without them."