07 December 2023

Santa Claus tells King he is on ‘very good boy list’

07 December 2023

The King received some festive cheer when he met Father Christmas and was told he was on the “very good boy” list.

Charles chatted to the famous figure when he visited a west London shopping centre and was mobbed by scores of shoppers who snapped photos of him on their smartphones.

With the big day just over a fortnight away, Ealing Broadway shopping centre was filled with crowds when they realised a famous visitor was perusing food and craft stalls at the Christmas market.

During the visit, Charles walked over to Santa Claus’ grotto, which will be granting children’s wishes up until Christmas Eve, and had a brief chat with Father Christmas and some of his elves.

Father Christmas said afterwards: “I told him he’s on Santa’s ‘very good boy’ list and he replied ‘really?’

“I also said to him if he was at Sandringham this year and when he said he was, I asked him if there was room for my sleigh to park?”

Behind the large beard and red and white suit was Keith Flaherty, who described himself as a “frustrated thespian”.

He said about his seasonal job: “It’s lovely to get away from the real world of grown-ups and be with the kiddies – they are great.”

Ealing, in its heyday, was known as the “queen of the suburbs” and is home to the world-famous Ealing Studios where major productions are still filmed.

It is also famed for its Polish community, who were welcomed to the area during the Second World War as squadrons of Polish fighter pilots were based at nearby RAF Northolt.

Charles watched a short performance by a local Polish choir, which sang a traditional carol, and he also stopped to chat to Kate McKenzie, running an outdoor stall for the Store Collective which features the work of local artisans and craft people.

She said: “He really liked the idea of bringing local makers together to fill this space.”

Before touring the Christmas market, the King chatted to local charities awarded the King’s Award for Voluntary Service, which ranged from organisations tackling litter or supporting those in distress and hardship to protecting wildlife.

Charles ended his visit to Ealing by making a private trip to nearby Pitzhanger Manor, the former country home of the influential 18th and 19th century architect Sir John Soane, which has undergone a major conservation project.

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