Duke and Duchess of Cambridge surprise key workers' children with presents at panto

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Prince William and Kate narrate ‘A Christmas Surprise’ to thank key workers

Prince William and Kate have revealed they worked with Hamleys toy shop to help give Christmas presents to children of key workers.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, both 38, took their children Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte,to the panto on 11 December – their first red carpet outing as a five.

In a sweet video shared on their social media pages on 15 December, they explained how the visit had been much more than just a treat for their children.

Set to an adaption of the poem Twas The Night Before Christmas, William and Kate narrated the story of their gift giving to the children of key workers, who also attended the Pantoland performance at the Palladium.

Santa and a team of elves set out to ask all the children what they wanted for Christmas, before rushing to Hamleys while the kids enjoyed the performance, and wrapping dozens of presents as a surprise.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge with their children, Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George, attend a special pantomime performance at London's Palladium Theatre, hosted by The National Lottery, to thank key workers and their families for their efforts throughout the pandemic on December 11, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by  Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William and Kate with their children Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George at Palladium Theatre. (Getty Images)
Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (C), holds the hand of her son, Britain's Prince Louis of Cambridge (L) and her daughter Britain's Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (R) as they attend a special pantomime performance of The National Lotterys Pantoland  at London's Palladium Theatre in London on December 11, 2020, to thank key workers and their families for their efforts throughout the pandemic. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Kate with Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge on the red carpet. (AFP)

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William began the poem, reading: “Twas two weeks before Christmas and all through the land, key workers kept working to give us a hand.”

Kate continued: “The nurses, the doctors, at the heart of the fight, joined teachers, shop workers, volunteers in the fight.”

William said: “And the country was grateful for all they had done, and wanted to thank them and bring them some fun.”

The video shows people dressed as elves, complete with face masks, asking the children what they would like for Christmas, and taking down their requests, which included Barbies, teddy bears and books.

It shows the children enjoying the panto, which included Julian Clary and Elaine Paige, before walking back out onto the red carpet.

Kate narrated: “As out on the carpet, there’d been ‘quite’ the spell.”

Watch: Prince William and Kate: Cambridges’ pantomime treat

William followed: “The guests never dreamt that during the show, the elves had worked swiftly, all covered in snow.”

Kate said: “With smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes, the children couldn’t believe they’d had such a surprise.”

William closes the poem with the line: “The moral of the story, true now more than ever, is that remarkable things happen when we all work together.”

But the last moment is given over to one of the children, who, clutching her teddy bear and covered in snow, wishes a Merry Christmas.

Sharing the video on Instagram, Kensington Palace said: “This year has been extraordinary for many reasons, but through the hardship some of the most incredible people have emerged.

“This Christmas we want to say THANK YOU to all our key workers and their families for all they have done, and for the sacrifices they have made to keep us safe.

“As a small part in that effort we worked with @HamleysOfficial and @TNLUK to bring a bit of Christmas magic to the children of those key workers that came to the Palladium last Friday.”

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (L) its beside his wife, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (2nd L) holds Britain's Prince Louis of Cambridge (3rd L) as Britain's Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (2nd R) and Britain's Prince George of Cambridge (R) look on at a special pantomime performance of The National Lotterys Pantoland  at London's Palladium Theatre in London on December 11, 2020, to thank key workers and their families for their efforts throughout the pandemic. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The five Cambridges sat in the royal box for the performance. (AFP)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Princess Charlotte and Prince George attend a special pantomime performance at London's Palladium Theatre, hosted by The National Lottery, to thank key workers and their families for their efforts throughout the pandemic on December 11, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by  Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Charlotte and George whispered together before the show started. (Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 11: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte and Prince George attend a special pantomime performance at London's Palladium Theatre, hosted by The National Lottery, to thank key workers and their families for their efforts throughout the pandemic on December 11, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by  Aaron Chown - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
William sat in between his children in the royal box. (Getty Images)

George, seven, Charlotte, five, and Louis, two, stole the show on the red carpet when they visited with their parents on Friday.

William and Kate had not long returned from a whistle stop tour of the UK, travelling around the country to say thank you to key workers and volunteers and to meet people impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The royal children walked the red carpet before taking their seats in the royal box, where they watched their father open the show and pay tribute to the late Dame Barbara Windsor.

Charlotte and George appeared to share a whisper or two, and William moved to sit in between them before the show started.

Louis watched from his mother’s lap.

William and Kate watched the show with masks on, in line with government guidance, but the children did not have to wear them.

The video was released soon after the news that London would be plunged into Tier 3 restrictions, meaning theatres have to close once again.