The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a unique and important national institution with a military-based culture.
It was founded by Charles II in 1682 for "the succour and relief of veterans broken by age and war", and over 3 centuries later its significance remains as great as ever. It stands today as a symbol of the esteem in which those who fight for our freedom are held, and a demonstration of the nations' obligation, and its wish, to look after them in their old age and infirmity. This tradition of caring for the nation's veteran soldiers has been handed down through successive generations, and been inherited by us.
At the heart of the Royal Hospital's vision lie two core ambitions. First, to ensure it remains recognised as being relevant to the Nation. Second, for it to be acknowledged as a beacon of excellence in the care of the elderly. These ambitions can only be achieved if Chelsea Pensioners and staff alike recognise they have obligations as well as privileges. The ethos of the Royal Hospital is thus one that puts a premium on selflessness and companionship: and the values laid out in this note underpin that ethos. They apply equally to all members of our community.
Decency. We must act at all times with decency and respect towards others, whether they be Chelsea Pensioners, staff or visitors, treating them as we would ourselves wish to be treated. There is no place at the Royal Hospital for bullying, harassment or ill manners in any form, but rather for courtesy, tolerance and restraint.
Integrity. In any community trust is essential for harmony, and trust depends on integrity. We must have the moral courage to do what is right, not what is expedient; and to speak up when there is something wrong.
Commitment. The Royal Hospital will only prosper if all who live and work here understand its vision and purpose, and are committed to its success. Each member of the community should make a contribution according to their ability. It is not enough to do the minimum. Rather, all should seek to add value.
Comradeship. The Royal Hospital is a community built on comradeship. All who live and work here have an obligation to foster that spirit, to engage with others, prevent loneliness or isolation, and help those who are unable to help themselves.
Standards. To retain its status as a valued and historic National institution, and to justify the investment made in it by others, the Royal Hospital must be recognised for the standards to which it aspires and which it exhibits. All of us have an obligation to uphold those standards. This applies as much to the manner in which we conduct ourselves in public as in the workplace.
Those who live and work at the Royal Hospital Chelsea are privileged to do so, and all have an obligation to contribute to its success to the best of their ability.
We are the inheritors of a rich tradition, and must ensure we sustain its reputation and foster its excellence for future generations.
The Chelsea Pensioners have paraded at the Royal Hospital Chelsea's Founder's Day on 8 June, reviewed by His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex.
Every year the Chelsea Pensioners are welcome guests on the Channel Islands, for a celebration of history, Liberation and reconciliation.