Her Majesty The Queen has hosted a festive gathering for five children from the Thames Valley with life-shortening conditions.

The children received an invitation from the Helen & Douglas House, a charity which the Queen has been patron of since 2007.

The occasion marks the seventeenth time the charity's families and staff members have been invited to decorate the Christmas tree at Clarence House.

Oxford Mail: Elliot Haines with The QueenElliot Haines with The Queen (Image: Helen & Douglas House)

The children, aged between 5-9 years, attended the event alongside their parents, siblings, and Jane Long, the chief executive of the charity.

The Queen greeted each child and their families upon arrival, introducing them to the library which boasted a Christmas tree and a plethora of festive decorations.

The children had the chance to decorate the Christmas tree, some hand-in-hand with Her Majesty herself.

They also met Her Majesty’s equerry, Oliver Plunket.

Mr Plunket used his sword to place some of the decorations on he tree.

As the families departed Clarence House, they were gifted a serenade of ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ performed by the Band and Bugles of The Rifles, and Father Christmas standing by with his reindeers.

Oxford Mail: The Queen with, Isla, Morwenna, and Mark NadenThe Queen with, Isla, Morwenna, and Mark Naden (Image: Helen & Douglas House)

Liz Taylor attended with her daughter Dotty, she said: "Today, we made the most incredible memories. Dotty pulling The Queen in for a cuddle and giving her the card she'd made at Helen & Douglas House, will stay with us forever.

"A very happy day, full of Christmas spirit, kindness and curtsying. Thank you to everyone involved."

Mary Mead, who went with her son Jack, said: "What a wonderful and magical experience, Her Majesty was so kind and thoughtful to the families and the children.

"It was a truly magical experience and has put us all in the spirit of Christmas. Thanks to all involved to making the day a special memory with Jack.”

Oxford Mail: Iris and Sunny Drabble and Dotty, Kevin and Liz Taylor with the QueenIris and Sunny Drabble and Dotty, Kevin and Liz Taylor with the Queen (Image: Helen & Douglas House)

To support local terminally ill children this Christmas, donations can be made to the Helen & Douglas House Christmas Appeal at hdh.org.uk.

Jane Long, chief executive of Helen & Douglas House, said: "The children and families had such a magical time.

"It was wonderful for the families we care for to be able to visit Clarence House again this Christmas.

"Christmas can be a difficult time for these families, juggling the medical needs of their children with life-shortening conditions with the festivities.

"Christmas is also a time when they can make precious memories during their child’s short life which they will treasure forever, and this will certainly be an occasion that they will always remember."