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Kate, William and Harry treat children to charming Palace tea party – see the photos

The royals had a wonderful afternoon with the children of service men and women

by Sophie Hamilton

Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate held a fun-filled garden party for around 850 very special guests on Saturday. The royals organised an open-air festival as a treat for the sons and daughters of parents who have died serving their country. Buckingham Palace’s gardens were turned into a fantastic fair, with face-painting and cupcake decorating stalls, circus acts, break-dancing workshops and magicians to entertain the young guests. Pop star Jess Glynne and ventriloquist Nina Conti performed for the excited crowd and fun was had by all as the children and teenagers enjoyed all the activities in the palace grounds. The party was thoughtfully held, "to honour those whose mother or father have died fighting for their country", royal sources said.

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The Duchess of Cambridge chats to guests at the party

Prince Harry gave a moving speech to guests, saying: "We're here to celebrate you and to remind you that we as a family, we as a nation, and we up and down the country will never ever forget about the sacrifices that every single one of you have made." The prince met the widow and son of Fusilier Lee Rigby, who was killed by two Islamic extremists outside Woolwich Barracks in south east London in 2013. They were later jailed for life. Harry joined Rebecca Rigby, 34, and her son Jack, aged six, as they had a go at plate-spinning. The trio giggled as the prince tried to keep his plate in the air. "I can assure you that Buckingham Palace gardens have not seen this much fun, ever," Harry told the party crowd.

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Prince Harry has fun at the palace festival trying his hand at plate-spinning

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READ: Kate chooses an elegant cream dress for children’s Palace tea party

Prince William had a special connection with one family in particular at the party. Jamie Molyneau, 18, attended with his three younger siblings. Their father, Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, from Wigan, was killed as he tackled armed, drunken guard Ryan Donovan when HMS Astute was docked in Southampton five years ago. Their father was awarded a posthumous George Medal. Jamie said: "The Duke of Cambridge wrote to us soon after my dad was killed. It was very touching. He said he understood what we were going through as siblings, with his experience losing his mum. I had two choices to make. I was either going to go off the rails and end up in prison or accept what's happened and do the best I can." Jamie passed out of Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College, Leicestershire, last year, with the award for best naval cadet.

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Prince William meets party guests during the fun-filled afternoon

The special day finished in style with a display by parachute display team RAF Falcons, who delighted children by parachuting over the roof of the palace into the gardens.

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