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Queen Camilla marks the 'beginning of Christmas' as she invites children to Clarence House

Her Majesty invited children to decorate the Christmas tree

Camilla and the children decorated the tree at Clarence House
Danielle Stacey
Danielle StaceyOnline Royal CorrespondentLondon
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The Queen kicked off the festive season as she invited some very special guests to Clarence House on Wednesday.

Every year Camilla, 76, is joined by children, supported by Helen & Douglas House and Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity, to decorate the tree at her London residence.

The Queen, who looked elegant in a green velvet dress by ME+EM, was greeted by Santa Claus as she made her way down the main staircase.

"Father Christmas, I spy," she quipped. "Here we go again. This is an especially lovely occasion."

See highlights from the heartwarming event in the clip below...

WATCH: Queen Camilla joined by Santa Claus and his reindeer

 Camilla helped the children to choose decorations for the tree, with her equerry, Major Oliver Plunket, using his sabre to place the ornaments on the branches.

Queen Camilla with Father Christmas© Getty
The children enjoyed a visit from Father Christmas
Major Oliver Plunket places decoration on Clarence House xmas tree with sword© Getty
Camilla's equerry places decorations on the tree with a sword

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

His mother, Zainab Abubakar, 35, of Telford, said: "It's a big honour for us to be here and we are so happy."

Guests were treated to a lunch of bangers and mash before receiving gifts from Father Christmas. Before leaving, the children also got to meet Santa's reindeer, Dancer and Blitzen.

 In an impromptu speech, Camilla said: "I think this is the 18th year we have had this party and I can tell you from everybody at Clarence House it really does mean the beginning of Christmas.

 "We look forward to it every year. Also, I’d like to thank the marvellous children charities for doing what they do - helping so many parents, for helping the wonderful children and making their lives easier."

Queen Camilla greets a reindeer© Getty
The children met Father Christmas' reindeer

Charlotte O’Neill, 31, of Birmingham, mother of Oscar-Ray, six, who has severe epilepsy and learning disabilities, said of their invite to Clarence House: "It means everything. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So many happy memories.

"We placed the decoration on the tree with the sword, met Father Christmas and spoke to the Queen. We feel very blessed."

Queen Camilla strokes reindeer© Getty
Queen Camilla invited children to decorate the Christmas tree at Clarence House

 The festive event comes the day after the King and Queen, along with the Prince and Princess of Wales, hosted the Diplomatic reception at Buckingham Palace.

 Camilla looked beautiful in a cream embroidered Fiona Claire gown with the late Queen's Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.

LISTEN: How Queen Camilla overcame negative publicity