Today's Chelsea Pensioners come from across the Commonwealth.

They have served in conflicts from World War II to the Falklands.

Some have never seen active service, but all understand what it means to be a soldier and the potential sacrifice that signing up entails.

Wearing the Scarlet coat changes people's perception of you, they recognise all that you have done and respect you for it.

Contrary to popular belief, the Royal Hospital Chelsea doesn't require applicants to have a certain number of medals, or to have fought in particular campaigns.

Anyone who is over sixty-five and has served as a regular soldier, who has no dependent spouse or family, who finds themselves in need and who is "of good character" can apply to become one of the world famous Chelsea Pensioners.*

*Former officers must have served at least 12 years in the ranks before receiving a commission. 

As well as a warm welcome among fellow veterans, the Royal Hospital Chelsea provides meals, accommodation and activities for all its residents.

The purpose-built Infirmary with its specialist dementia ward cares for veterans as they face the increasing challenges and trials of old age.

The social life of the Royal Hospital is rich and varied. The 66 acre site provides an exclusive post code from which to explore London. Chelsea Pensioners are regularly invited to attend high profile events such as Wimbledon, Chelsea football matches and race meetings. 

A wide range of social activities are provided.

The Infirmary can accommodate 100 pensioners with en suite facilities.

Each room has an excellent view and all pensioner have access to beautiful gardens. There are communal lounges and dining rooms in all wards and there is a café with conservatory for pensioners, staff and visitors.

Some of our pensioners live permanently in the Infirmary and others stay for short periods when they are unwell or convalescing following treatment or surgery in local hospitals. Families are welcome to visit at any time and accommodation is available for close relatives visiting pensioners who are seriously ill.


To be eligible for admission as a Chelsea Pensioner, a candidate must be a former non-commissioned officer or soldier of the British Army (including National Service) who is:

  • Over 65 years of age.
  • Either in receipt of an Army Service Pension or War Disability Pension which you would be required to surrender upon entry to the Royal Hospital or, if you do not receive an Army Pension you would be required to pay a £175 per week contribution towards your living costs. Please note, if your Army Service Pension and/or War Disability Pension is less than the £175 per week minimum you would be required to top-up to that amount, provided it does not place you in financial difficulty.
  • Free of any financial obligation to support a spouse or family.
  • Be self-caring and able to live independently on the Long Wards – the Royal Hospital Chelsea is unable to accept direct entries to the Infirmary.

Also eligible for admission are any former officers of the British Army who meet the criteria, provided they served for at least 12 years in the ranks before obtaining a commission or if they were awarded a disablement pension while serving in the ranks.

How to apply

As you may be aware, the Royal Hospital is in the final phases of its refurbishment programme as all our accommodation is being upgraded to en-suite. As a consequence we have had to put in place a temporary freeze on applications until June 2014.

Contact the Chelsea Pensioner Recruitment Officer:
020 7881 5204
Write to
Royal Hospital Chelsea
Royal Hospital Road