tLP and Mog went down with
Sure to dear, but it's time for teaSaid
Better photos, proper photos, big fat "I have a camera so vast it takes three people to hold it" type photos in the links underneath.
Spot the Mog
Spot the Little Princess shaking hands with the proper Princess. "Is she really a Princess, Mummy? A real one?"
It isn't every day you get to help the future Queen of England decorate her Christmas Tree. Better photos on Grannie's camera, but Grannie's camera has gone off with Grannie to her next meal out, and I know people were waiting to see things here.
We drove. Something involving lots of police and flashy lights slowed us down considerably on Edgeware Road. I remain tremendously grateful that I get to visit London less than once a year, and that I don't live there. Huge admiration for those of you who do. And I say we drove; I drove to Helen House, two very nice Helen House volunteers drove us the rest of the way.
We arrived. Policemen climbed into our bus to check we were who we said we were, soldiers paraded up and down outside the bus, and eventually we were allowed through the gates, under the archway and into Clarence House.
We took our coats off and had them squirreled away into a cloakroom. I too would be tidy if I had a fully staffed cloakroom with several people just itching to take my coat and fold it for me every time I took it off.
Room number one; many press-type people, a regiment of London Cab Drivers bringing local Underprivileged Children, Sister Frances and Tom from Helen House, a smaller team of Royal staff, and a smaller but very present group of children.
Room two; a giant Christmas Tree, a real live toy soldier with a sword, and many decorations. Lots of opportunities to help HRH hang the decorations on the tree. It goes much more easily when one has a soldier with a sword to hang the highest decorations. And a super small boy to adjust the lower ones until they are just right.
Room number three; a beautiful dining room with Christmasly party foods. A Duchess, inviting tLP to partake of the chocolate stars. And a Little Princess insisting instead on steadily munching her way through the ham sandwiches. A very giggly Mog making the most of the atmosphere and definitely NOT kicking the Duchess, although she did kick her switch very nicely to say hello. Hello. Hello. Hello. And Hello. Ah, the limitations of a single switch.
And then back into the bus, and a cold drive home. Two girls full of Christmas food and Christmas spirit, with Buckingham Palace Gift Bags and immense chocolate pennies. More presents inside the bags which the girls were too tired to explore. And a long drive.
Back to Helen House carpark, into our bus, home, and into bed, slightly splashily after a long day out.
For Mum and I, the memory of tLP refusing Her Royal Highness' chocolate in favour of what I assume was Duchy Ham. Of Mog, helpless with giggles, grinning up at the living Toy Soldier standing behind her. For tLP, perhaps the memory of hanging a decoration onto the soldier's sword, and watching him hoist it high into the branches of the tree. Or having a flag fight with the toddler in the chair next to her. Or eating Smarties on the way home. And for Mog, lights. Smiles, faces, lots of admiration of her dress, and the chance to meet a real live Princess. For the Duchess? I don't know, but I hope she enjoyed our company.
Thanks to all who arranged it and especially for thinking to invite us.