The Royal Hospital was founded by King Charles II in 1682 'as a place of refuge and shelter for such Land Soldiers as are or shall be old, lame or infirm in the service of the Crown'. 

Sir Christopher Wren was entrusted with the design of the building and it was ten years later, in the spring of 1692 that the first Chelsea Pensioner took up residence. It provides the same care today and plans to continue to do so.

The principal tasks of the Royal Hospital Chelsea are the care of the Chelsea Pensioners and the conservation of its historic buildings and grounds. 

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is recognised as a Charity by HMRC. The registered charity number for the Royal Hospital Chelsea Appeal Ltd is 1076414.

Mission & Vision

The Royal Hospital Chelsea's Mission Statement
To provide community, comradeship, care and recognition for Chelsea Pensioners and the wider Veteran community. Acknowledged as a leader in Veteran welfare, we share our unique heritage and knowledge with others.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea's Vision
To improve life for all Veterans and older people. To strive for excellence in all that we do.

Values of the Royal Hospital Chelsea

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.

Nurture belonging – unite through comradeship United in a shared purpose, we live and work together as a community. Everyone has a place in our diverse social, military, and historical traditions. We build strong relationships through trust and loyalty.

Respect individuals – listen and act We believe in the dignity and experiences of everyone. Each of us listens with humility and speaks with courage. Always acting with integrity, we treat each other with decency and care.

Encourage pride – commit to high standards We show appreciation and give people reason to take pride in what they do. We each welcome challenge and support others to improve. Together, we honour the mission of the Royal Hospital.

Enjoy life – make people smile We each enable people to lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. The well-being of others is what motivates us. We delight in the difference we make within our communities and Nation.

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.

Governance Statement

Governing Documents
The Royal Hospital Chelsea (RHC)’s governing document consists of Letters Patent from the Crown, the current Letters Patent having been issued on 21 November 2003. This vests responsibility for the management of the RHC in a Board of Commissioners. The Paymaster General is formally the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners and Treasurer of the RHC’s funds although in practice the Governor invariably takes the Chair at Board meetings. The RHC is not a registered charity but its governance arrangements are similar to those of registered charities, and it aims to operate according to best practice for charitable bodies as set out by the Charity Commission. It is treated as having Charitable Status by HMRC (reference number X8366).

Letters Patent
The first Letters Patent were granted in 1703, and the current version was approved by the Queen on 21st November 2003. The first part of the Letters Patent is concerned with the appointment of Commissioners, and the rest of the document is concerned with their powers. In summary, translated from the early 18th Century English, they are given specific responsibility for:

  • feeding and clothing the In-Pensioners
  • maintaining the buildings and grounds
  • appointing the Royal Hospital staff, setting their pay, duties and conditions of service (and dismissing them if necessary)
  • raising money
  • approving the annual accounts
  • setting the eligibility criteria for the admission of In-Pensioners

This list covers almost all the day-to-day activities of the Royal Hospital except the medical, nursing and spiritual care of the In-Pensioners (since there has been both a Physician and a Chaplain since the foundation of the Hospital it is reasonable to assume these functions were intended to be provided). The ownership of land and property is covered in separate Acts of Parliament. But in case anything is missed, there is a very sweeping provision which gives the Commissioners “full power and authority generally to do and perform all such matters and things and to enter into such arrangements or agreements as you … shall think necessary for the good government of Our said Hospital.”

Ministry of Defence – sponsoring government department
In many respects, the RHC is treated as an arms-length body linked to the Ministry of Defence and it receives Grant in Aid funding which is governed by a Financial Framework arrangement which outlines restrictions on the use of the funding and gives reporting requirements. This Framework includes the appointment of an Accounting Officer by letter of delegation from the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Defence. The Accounting Officer is personally responsible for the stewardship, proper, and efficient use of the Grant in Aid funds. The Accounting Officer, with the Board of Commissioners, also has responsibility for maintaining a sound system of internal controls that supports the achievement of aims and objectives set by the Board. The current Financial Framework agreement was signed in April 2018; this will apply for three years. The Chief Executive Officer of the RHC is the Accounting Officer. Mr David Richmond CBE has held this post since 1 March 2024. The RHC’s accounts follow the guidelines laid down in the Statement of Recommended (Accounting) Practice for charities. The accounts are audited annually by the National Audit Office and presented to Parliament in accordance with the Chelsea Hospital Act 1876. 

Board of Commissioners

Composition of the RHC Board of Commissioners (BoC)
The BoC members are appointed by the Monarch having been nominated by the Secretary of State for Defence after an openly advertised recruitment process, and selection by the RHC Nominations Committee, and consist of:

  1. Six Ex-Officio Commissioners: HM Paymaster General, Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, the Director of Resources and Command Secretary (Army), two senior Army Officers nominated by the Chief of the General Staff – currently the Director of Engagement and Communications and Senior Health Advisor (Army). The Ministerial Ex-Officio Commissioners rarely attend BoC meetings.
  2. The Governor: who will be a retired 3- or 4-star Army General appointed by the Monarch following a recruitment process by the RHC Nominations Committee including advice from the Chief of the General Staff. The Governor generally serves a six- or seven-year term.
  3. Ten Specially Appointed Commissioners who are appointed by the Monarch on the recommendation of the Secretary of State for Defence following a recruitment process by the Nominations Committee, which aims to recruit people with the required skills, diversity, and experience who are distinguished in their field, and are appointed for a three year term renewable for a further three years.
  4. The BoC is chaired by the Governor who, in consultation with the Chair of Nominations Committee, appoints a Deputy Chair and also assigns Commissioners to the BoC’s Committees.

Current Governor and Commissioners
The current Governor is General Sir Adrian Bradshaw KCB OBE DL who took up office on 2 September 2018. The Governorship is a part-time, paid role in the style of an executive Chair, and is also a Commissioner. The list of current BoC members can be found below.

Rationale for the number of Commissioners
The BoC has considered the number of its Specially Appointed Commissioners, and concluded as follows. The Royal Hospital’s mission is to care for Chelsea Pensioners and their historic home, and its governing body needs to scrutinise the usual corporate areas of activity such as finance risk, and legal compliance, but also medical and care services, heritage and conservation, and commercial activity. We need expert scrutiny of the following 15 distinct disciplines to maintain our core mission and business at an exemplary standard: adult social, end of life care, therapies, nursing care, medical services, military organisation and ceremony, business and financial management, commercial activity, facilities management, estates and grounds management, heritage, fundraising and charity management, investment management, communications and PR. In addition to the ex-officio commissioners, therefore, we have 10 specially appointed commissioners, distinguished in their field, who between them possess the necessary experience and expertise to scrutinise and give direction to the diverse range of activities.

Committees and meetings of the Board of Commissioners
The Board of Commissioners meets quarterly April, July, September, & January to consider major policy issues relating to the running of the Royal Hospital.  It is supported by five subordinate Committees: Audit, Estates (plus Heritage Sub- Group), Finance and General Purposes, Health and Wellbeing (plus Research Panel), and Nomination Committee.  These Committees are all chaired and composed of Commissioners. The outcomes of Committee meetings are reported to the Board at its following meeting. The Committees do not make decisions (unless the BoC delegates specific actions to them), but rather make recommendations to the Board of Commissioners. 

Rationale for the frequency of Board meetings
The BoC considers that four Board meetings per year are adequate for the decision-making the RHC requires because a) the organisation is improving and changing to meet need, but not expanding or developing enough significant new services to warrant more Board scrutiny; b) there is a well-developed range of monitoring systems: – Internal audit, Key Performance Indicators, Risk Maps, etc. to ensure proper scrutiny; and c) there is an adequate range of Committees and Sub-Committees to scrutinise and advise on specialist areas on behalf of the Board.

Register of Interests
A register of Commissioners’ and Executive Board Members’ relevant interests is maintained and updated at least annually. All Commissioners and Executive Board Members are required to declare if they have an interest, pecuniary or otherwise, in any matter being considered by the Board or one of its committees and any relevant conflicts of interest are duly recorded as they arise. During the year under review no such interests were declared.

Commissioners of the Royal Hospital Chelsea

Ex-Officio Commissioners

His Majesty’s Paymaster General:
The Rt Hon John Glen MP

Minister for Armed Forces and Veterans:
The Rt Hon Leo Docherty MP

Minister for Defence People and Veterans and Service Families:
The Rt Hon Dr. Andrew Murrison MP

Governor of the Royal Hospital Chelsea:
General Sir Adrian Bradshaw KCB OBE DL

Director of Resources and Command Secretary (Army):
Mr Nick Gordon

Head International, Communications and Engagement:
Brigadier Chris Davies OBE

Senior Health Advisor (Army):
Brigadier Tony Finn

Specially Appointed Commissioners

  • Dr Roger Bowdler
  • Mr Richard Clark
  • Colonel Paul Foster
  • Professor Charles Mackworth-Young CVO
  • Mr Dominic Fisher OBE
  • Miss Caroline Trewhitt 
  • Doctor Caroline Shuldham OBE
  • Mr Roland Rudd
  • Professor Martin Green OBE
  • Mr Steve Allen
  • Mr Richard Swallow

Finance and General Purpose Committee:
Dominic Fisher (Chair), Nick Gordon, Paul Foster, Caroline Trewhitt

Audit Committee:
Caroline Trewhitt (Chair), Nick Gordon, Dominic Fisher, Richard Swallow

Nominations Committee:
Dr Caroline Shuldham (Chair), Paul Foster, Charles Mackworth-Young, Nick Gordon

Health and Wellbeing Oversight Committee and Research Panel (RP)
Charles Mackworth-Young (Chair), Caroline Shuldham, (RP), Martin Green, Tony Finn, Steve Allen

Estates Committee and Heritage Sub-Group (HSG)
Paul Foster (Chair) (HSG), Roland Rudd, Roger Bowdler (HSG), Martin Green

Chelsea Pensioner Veterans Outreach Committee (CPVO)
Dominic Fisher (Chair), Steve Allen, Martin Green

Subsidiary companies
In addition to the six committees of the Board there are three active and two dormant subsidiary companies which have been established to manage charitable and trading activities. These subsidiaries are incorporated under the Companies Act 2006 and report accounts in accordance with the Companies Act and UK GAAP. The companies are as follows:

Royal Hospital Chelsea Appeal Ltd Group
The Commissioners form a majority of directors on the Board of Royal Hospital Chelsea Appeal Ltd which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the RHC. Royal Hospital Chelsea Appeal Limited is a Company limited by guarantee (company number 03701005) and a charity registered with the Charities Commission (charity number 1076414).

This Charitable Company has two wholly owned commercial trading subsidiaries being Chelsea Pensioner (RH) Ltd (company number 03853787), Tricorne Traders Ltd (company number 07382655). Chelsea Pensioner (RH) Ltd is the trading arm responsible primarily for the management of the Souvenir Shop, events, the Chelsea Pensioner Club, MTI Café and also provides catering and staff for functions. Tricorne Traders Ltd is dormant.

The taxable income from Chelsea Pensioner (RH) Ltd is gift aided through to their parent company Royal Hospital Chelsea Appeal Ltd. These gift aid amounts, along with direct donations received directly by Royal Hospital Chelsea Appeal Ltd, are then donated to the RHC to assist with the funding of day to day operational costs and defined capital projects.

Gordon House (London) Ltd
Gordon House (London) Ltd was incorporated in 2012. The primary business of the Company is to assist the Commissioners of the RHC with the sale of the lease of the property known as Gordon House, which was achieved in 2012-13. The Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the RHC. This subsidiary also gift aids its taxable income to its parent undertaking the RHC.

Executive Leadership and Management

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is responsible to the Governor and Board of Commissioners for the effective and efficient management of the RHC, for the delivery and implementation of strategy set by the Board of Commissioners and for ensuring that the RHC complies with all relevant statutory requirements. He reports directly to the Governor and is head of the RHC management structure. Responsibility for day to day operations and the development of policy for the approval of the Board of Commissioners lies with the Executive Board, which is chaired by the Chief Executive Officer.

Executive Board has responsibility for day to day operations and the development of policy for the approval of the Board of Commissioners. The Executive Board is chaired by the Chief Executive Officer and comprises:

  • Chief Executive Officer - David Richmond CBE;
  • Director of Health & Wellbeing - Dr Jeremy Tuck CBE;
  • Director of Estates and Facilities & Quartermaster – Lieutenant Colonel Nicky Mott MBE;
  • Finance Director - Mei Li;
  • Human Resources Director – Mark Taylor;
  • Director of Public Engagement – Revd Martin Field;
    • Assistant Director of Audience Engagement - Kate Ainley-Marr;
  • Director of Chelsea Pensioners Veterans Outreach - Giles Woodhouse.

Other senior roles leading regulated services include the Chaplain - Revd Steven Brookes; The Physician & Surgeon – Dr Fergus Keating; and Matron – Monika Balciunaite.

The Executive Board meets formally on a monthly basis and includes in its meetings a review of current operations, management planning, budgetary position, key HR matters, policy development and the high-level risk register. It is the practice for all members of the Executive Board also to attend the principal part of meetings of the Board of Commissioners.

Senior staff remuneration
Senior staff roles are treated in the same way as all other roles: they are market tested every year by an external expert and pitched at the median salary for the sector. The results and any recommendations on changes in remuneration are scrutinised by the Remuneration Committee and, if affordable, agreed by the full Board. Senior staff receive the same benefits (e.g. pensions) as other staff.

MOD Funding Framework

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is funded, in part, by Grant in Aid (GiA) made by the MOD. The current Framework agreement running from 1st April 2021 - 31st March 2024 can be found here.

Caldicott Guardian

A Caldicott Guardian is a senior person responsible for protecting the confidentiality of people’s health and care information and making sure it is used properly.

The Royal Hospital's appointed Caldicott Guardian is Physician & Surgeon, Dr Fergus Keating BSc (Hons), MBBS, MRCGP

Safeguarding Policy

The Royal Hospital Chelsea has robust safeguarding policies and procedures for both adults and children. These are overseen by the Commissioners through their Health and Wellbeing Committee, and managed by a cross departmental Safeguarding Board. Safeguarding training is mandatory for all staff and volunteers.

Director of Health and Wellbeing: Dr Jeremy Tuck CBE, is Adult Safeguarding lead and Director of Public Engagement: Martin Field, is Child Safeguarding lead.

Data Protection Officer

The Data Protection Officer (DPO) assists us to monitor internal compliance, inform and advise on our data protection obligations, provide advice regarding Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) and act as a contact point for data subjects and the supervisory authority. The DPO must be independent, an expert in data protection, adequately resourced, and report to the highest management level.

The Royal Hospital has an appointed DPO who can be contacted by mail at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, Royal Hospital Road, London, SW3 4SR or email

Gender Pay Report

The RHC is required under public sector equality duty to publish a gender pay gap report.  This report is based on a snapshot date on 31 March 2023 and relates to 265 full-pay relevant employees, 61.1% Female and 38.9% Male.

The RHC median gender pay gap is 2.0% and our mean gender pay gap is 14.2%. 

We remain confident that the gap in pay between men and women, which has closed considerably since the 2022 report, is not due to discrimination.  We believe, it is because of the different roles, and the associated salaries, that men and women work in within our organisation.    

How we show progress.

We take pride in rewarding staff fairly and continue to utilise an external pay consultant to benchmark our roles against similar organisations, offer flexible working and a range of opportunities for career development across genders and seniority levels. We also promote progression through internal vacancy advertisement while continuing to explore opportunities through learning and development.

The RHC is committed to creating a fully inclusive culture and believe in opportunities for all, regardless of gender. Below are our more recent steps taken to show our commitment in improving our Gender Pay Gap.

  • We use a consistent and structured interview approach for recruitment and promotions. 
  • We embrace Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and apply inclusive language and branding in our communications to promote the RHC and advertise roles and careers within our organisation.
  • We continue to monitor and enhance our policies and guidelines to ensure they are encouraging inclusive practices.
  • We support women on maternity leave by encouraging keeping in touch days and creating a positive return to work experience.  

We believe we are on a continual and progressive journey and will do everything we can to reduce the gap even further.

Download the latest (2023) report here

Download the 2022 report here

Download the 2021 report here

Download the 2020 report here


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Chelsea Pensioners in scarlet coat and Royal Gurkhas stood together
Chelsea Pensioners join the Liberation of Guernsey

This month marked the 79th anniversary of the Liberation of Guernsey. A group of 10 Chelsea Pensioners and serving soldiers from the Royal Gurkha Rifles visited the channel island to mark the occassion. 

Three Chelsea pensioners, two stood behind a bench and one sitting surrounded by red roses in pots
Introducing the Chelsea Pensioner Rose - 'every garden should have one'

A stunning new rose celebrating the Chelsea Pensioners was launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024. Exclusively grown by Harkness Roses for the Royal Hospital, the radiant, resilient Chelsea Pensioner Rose is an asset to any garden. And every rose sold helps support the iconic Army veterans it’s named for.