Founder's Day is held on a day as close as possible to the 29th May every year. This is the birthday of Charles II as well as the date of his restoration as King in May 1660. It is also known as Oak Apple Day as it commemorates the escape of the future King Charles after the Battle of Worcester (1651) when he hid in an oak tree to avoid capture by the Parliamentary forces.
The Chelsea Pensioners are usually reviewed by a member of the Royal Family. During the course of this celebratory day the statue of Charles II in Figure Court is partly shrouded in oak leaves, and all participants in the Parade and spectators wear sprigs of oak leaves to commemorate the King's escape from forces after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The statue was re-gilded in 2002 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Royal Hospital has always been proud to maintain close links with the Sovereign and this continues strongly into the 21st Century. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has reviewed the In-Pensioners on Founder's Day on four occasions and the Reviewing officer has been a member of the Royal family every year since 1980.
The most significant Royal event in recent years occurred on 5th July 2002 when Her Majesty reviewed the Pensioners at Buckingham Palace and presented The Royal Hospital with its first ‘colours' the Sovereign's Mace.
More recently, Prince Harry reviewed the Chelsea Pensioners in 2011 and became the first serving officer to inspect Founder's Day for many years.