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:
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.
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.
The Cavendish London are donating £1 for every commemorative Rosa Lewis Afternoon Tea ordered this April.
The refurbishment of the Chelsea Pensioners accommodation is now moving into the final stages with temporary accommodation built on site to house 50 Chelsea Pensioners.