The Friends of the Elderly Coulsdon charity were visited by royalty at their annual Christmas carol service.

Her Royal Highness, Princess Alexandra, the charity’s President, joined an invited congregation at St Michael’s in central London, for carols followed by mince pies.

Leslie Page, of Woodcote Grove House in Coulsdon, said: “Friends of the Elderly carol services make Christmas such a special time of year. Silent Night is my favourite carol and being able to meet Princess Alexandra – who was so charming – afterwards was just a joy.”

The service concluded with a surprise presentation to Joan Orford, who has been a trustee for the charity for 25 years.

Princess Alexandra thanked Mrs Orford for her years of service to the charity and wished her well for her retirement.

Mrs Orford said: “I was genuinely surprised – and honoured. I have enjoyed every minute of my time with Friends of the Elderly, and Princess Alexandra was so warm with her comments too.”