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Queen and Camilla in festive mood

The Queen and the Duchess of Cornwall got in the festive spirit today when they helped decorate a Christmas tree - with a pair of royal baubles.

Armed with the specially made trinkets, the Queen and Camilla hung them from the branches of the tree during a visit to open Barnardo's new headquarters in East London.

Staff from the leading children's charity moved from their outdated base in Barkingside this autumn to a multi-million pound purpose-built building next door.

The organisation was founded by Thomas Barnardo, who set up his Ragged School in 1867 to help the abused, vulnerable, forgotten and neglected children of east London.

By the time he died in 1905, his organisation was running 96 homes caring for more than 8,500 children.

His work continued and today Barnardo's helps tens of thousands of children, young people and their families every year - running a range of projects from counselling services for abused youngsters to vocational training.

The Queen's decoration was made of red velvet covered with gold coloured thread and featured her cypher below a crown and a floral pattern around its edge.

While Camilla's had a similar design but was made from blue velvet and featured her cypher surrounded by a ring of white beads.

The Queen reached up to find a good spot for her festive decoration on the tree already covered in baubles and Camilla also carefully placed her trinket.

Siblings Skye, aged eight, and seven-year-old Summer, who are supported by a Barnardo's children's centre in Essex, presented the baubles to the royal women and also gave them Christmas stockings filled with tree decorations from the Barnardo's shop.

Clothes designer Bruce Oldfield, who was a former Barnardo's boy and is now a vice president of the charity, met the Queen with former Girls Aloud star Nicola Roberts, who is an ambassador for the organisation.

Oldfield was fostered to a seamstress as a child, and also received much support and financial help from Barnardo's when a teenager and young man and went on to create dresses for women like Diana, Princess of Wales and Jerry Hall.

For today's royal visit Camilla was wearing a dove-grey silk dress and matching wool coat made by the designer.

Speaking about his foster mother he said: "She used to do dress making and took in sowing, it affected me so nurture or nature I don't know."

The designer spoke with pride about Barnardo's: "In 2016 it will be our 150th anniversary - that's a pretty amazing thing. With Barnardo's people don't realise we're involved in quite a range of issues and areas."

The Queen and Camilla spent a large part of their visit having private meetings with vulnerable young children helped by the charity and also met fundraisers, staff and volunteers.


From Belfast Telegraph